Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Turkey Highlights

A couple of my favorite bloggers have linked to Turkey articles recently. Tyler Cowen recently visited Anatolia and found it fascinating:

Central Turkey is more economically advanced than I had expected. It is downright nice here, and standards of living are reasonably high. Imagine the per capita income of Mexico or Brazil but with greater equality and stronger social cohesion. Food is even better than in Istanbul, namely it is spicier and has fresher raw ingredients.
His post has several links of note. Reihan Salam also comments on a Spiegel Online profile of Turkey and its politics. It's a good read for a look at the good and the bad. But the interesting thing is that Turkey's growth is causing some repatriation, as Europeans are "flocking to 'Istancool.'"

The Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, ranks Istanbul at the top of its list of the 30 most dynamic cities in the world...New skyscrapers, each one more avant-garde than the next, are constantly going up in Istanbul's business districts, while the satellite towns on the outskirts are continually growing as more people migrate to the city. Most of these new arrivals are able to find work.

Europeans and Americans have also discovered 'Istancool,' the most modern city in the Islamic world, a city that never sleeps. Among the new arrivals are people whose parents and grandparents once emigrated to faraway Germany in search of a better life...When she flew to Istanbul with her family two years ago, Stegemann was overwhelmed by the wealth of cultural contrasts, the galleries, exhibitions, designer outlets, mosques and bazaars. She was offered a job in a private hospital. She accepted, and today she earns more than she did at home in Hanover... The number of Turkish-Germans returning to the country of their forefathers has long outnumbered the number of Turks heading to Germany.

A BusinessWeek profile last week gives some figures:

In the last decade, Turkey, a country of 80 million people, has become the 17th largest economy in the world. Since 2003 its gross domestic product has more than doubled from $304 billion in 2003 to $734 billion in 2010. Exports have more than tripled from $31 billion in 2001 to almost $114 billion last year. According to the International Monetary Fund, Turkey's economy grew by 8.9 percent in 2010...

Europe remains the biggest market for Turkish products, accounting for 50 percent of the country's exports. Most go to Germany, France, and Britain, where the Turks are among the leading producers of cars, televisions, and home appliances. Turkey is the world's largest cement exporter and its construction sector is second to China's. That's because Turkish companies have a no-frills, formality-be-damned mentality that allows them to get projects done faster than their European counterparts, say many Turkish businessmen. "All we need is this," says Mustafa Mente of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, pointing to his cell phone.

All is not guaranteed to be rosy economically, as I pointed out previously. But right now Turkey is in a much better position than most other countries in the world, and in probably the best position in the Muslim world.

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