Exports to Syria ‘delivered at border’ increasing
GÜNGÖR URASFreight shipment to Syria has started
(1) The Syrian market is important for producers in the eastern and southeastern provinces, especially for food and clothing producers. (2) It is important for transporters, the articulated trucks. There are truck fleets that have been formed in those provinces near to the Syrian border to carry export goods to Syria and to neighboring countries via Syria.
In the year 2010, we have (official, registered) sold goods worth 1.8 billion dollars to Syria. There have been 106,000 TIR trucks that passed the Syrian border. Because of the war, official-registered exports to Syria have gone down to zero.
Despite the facts that war has escalated and things have gotten even more complicated, it is reported that sales of goods to Syria has started reviving this year and exports (official-registered) this year may exceed 500 million dollars.
Border trade growing
The traffic of the trucks had gone back to 13,000 during the entire year of 2012. In the first six months of that year, 6,000 trucks had crossed the border. This year, in the first six months, the traffic of TIR trucks has gone up to 23,000.
Aysel Yücel, in her research that was published at the daily Dünya, explained the new channels of trade with Syria. Yücel said, “There is no state control on the Syrian side. The buyer contacts the Turkish producer. The transporter goes to the buffer zone in between the borders of the two countries. He receives the payment in cash and transfers the goods to a Syrian TIR truck. Because it has crossed the border, this transportation is recorded as an official export.”
In this commercial relationship, because those who are buying the goods are supporters of the opposition front, they do not pay any tax for their imports and the goods are generally sold on the black market.
According to the information provided, “There is no cross-border transportation. The TIR trucks take the goods to the border gate. They cannot drive inside the country. In the past, freight was $2,000. Cheap fuel would be bought from Syria. Now, the transportation fee up to the border gate is around 1,000 – 1,500 Turkish Liras. Because the goods cross the border, it is recorded as exports. This trade, and the exit and entry of the vehicles are under the control of the Syrian opposition. The exits are at the Cilvegözü and Öncüpınar border gates.”
As a result, one side is striving for one’s life; the other side is involved in trade. Well, this is life. (Let’s also not forget this: A truck with the Central Anatolian province Konya plate was searched on the road to Adana upon a tip off and 1,200 rocket warheads were found. Great surprise! I wonder where all this ammunition was going?)
Atilla Karaosmanoğlu was an outstanding member of the cadre of academics associated with Ankara University’s Political Sciences Faculty and Istanbul’s University’s Economy Faculty and has initiated the first planning movement in Turkey. Some members of this team took responsibility in the first years of the Erim government.
The planning experience, on the other hand, ended before it could pick its fruit because “the policies it believed true and defended were not accepted.”
Atilla Karaosmanoğlu’s skills and knowledge, which were not appreciated in Turkey, made him shine at the World Bank. He occupied a top post for a long time at the World Bank where non-U.S. citizens could never be promoted.
He was a very good person. May he rest in peace. I convey my condolences to his wife and his son.
Güngör Uras is a columnist for the daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on Nov. 13. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.