Bypassing mediocracy, but how?

Bypassing mediocracy, but how?

Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu released his party’s election manifesto on the weekend, summing up the economic picture as this: 

Turkey went down to 19th place from 17th place in the list of leading economies in the world. Because its income per capita for the past six years could not cross $10,000, it has fallen into the “medium income” trap. 

According to official figures, there are 6,200,000 unemployed in Turkey and 8 million retired people living with an income of lower than 1,000 Turkish Liras.  

As a matter of fact, not only Kılıçdaroğlu but many others have pointed out this picture and discussed it today.

One of them is Forum Istanbul, formed in 2001 during heavy circumstances of the crisis. It was the head of Forum Istanbul, Yavuz Canevi, who first pronounced something like Turkey’s “2023 Targets.” For 14 years, Forum Istanbul has been organizing two-day meetings to discuss the 2023 vision. 

This year’s meeting will be held April 27-28, and is entitled “Time to re-think – Time to act.” 

Together with Doğuş Group and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the third strategic partner of the forum is Akbank. The bank’s general manager, Hakan Binbaşgil, said the remaining eight years until 2023 should be properly made use of. 

The reason being, by all measures, targets such as a $2 trillion gross domestic product (GDP), $500 billion worth of exportation and a $25,000 per capita income for 2023 have all become “dreams” by now. 

The per capita income, which was $3,500 in 2002, rose to $10,500 in 2008 but has remained at the same place for six years. 

According to the 2014 data, a drop of $300 may even be a possibility. 

For this reason, TİM head Mehmet Büyükekşi said, “Turkey now should run.” He suggested that Turkey increase its share in world foreign trade, while focusing on innovation, research and development and branding. 

These are things everybody knows and mentions anyway. What is important here is the lack of the state in these fields, or its lack of “orchestration.”

For instance, what has Ankara done about the “Digital Agenda,” the road map that Europe prepared for itself for digital transformation? 

The topics to be discussed at the two-day meeting are digital transformation, sustainable development and exports and women and leadership.

Canevi said, “Turkey has to adopt a new growth model where democracy and rule of law prevail; it has to write a new success story. It has to strive, again, to abandon mediocracy. “ 

A magazine has been printed for the occasion and when you scan its QRReader, the words of Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan appear: “Our only remedy is a functioning democracy, with the most advanced standards in fundamental rights and freedoms and a rule of law applied at its best. If there is no rule of law, then our economy will never reach its desired level. Let us not forget that a confidence and credibility deficit is much more destructive than a budget deficit.”

Babacan, who will deliver the Forum Istanbul keynote speech, has summed up a formula to bypass mediocracy.