The EU: Turkey’s rusty anchor
Daron Acemoğlu, Turkey’s best shot at the Nobel Economics Prize, and Murat Üçer, who knows the Turkish economy better than anyone else, published the paper, “The ups and downs of Turkish growth, 2002-2015: Political Dynamics, the European Union and the Institutional Slide,” on Oct. 5.
This story is largely accurate but also incomplete. Harvard’s Dani Rodrik has shown that Turkey did not grow more than its developing country peers even during the boom years. Like many others, it benefited from a very favorable external environment. Rodrik also argues that the AKP “simply gave Turkey’s traditional macroeconomic populism a modern makeover by relying more on foreign capital markets and by boosting private expenditures.”
In any case, we should not expect much from a rusty anchor. There were reports, only hours after Acemoğlu and Üçer’s paper was published, that the EU was softening its criticism of Erdoğan on democracy, judicial independence, press freedom and free speech to stem the flow of immigrants. Even though the two economists’ arguments are sound, their timing is unfortunate.