State and Market: The Political Economy of Turkey in Comparative Perspective
by Ziya Öniş
Istanbul: Boğaziçi University Press, 1999 (2nd ed.). 529 pp. Price not marked. (paper).
Reviewed by Patrick Clawson
Middle East Quarterly
In addition to the many political barriers ahead in Turkey's bid to join the European Union (EU), there is also the issue of how well Turkey fits economically. This is no small matter: the main form of cooperation among EU countries is economic, from the monetary union to its common agricultural policy. Turkey's problem is that its income per person is less than half that of the poorest EU country (even using the "purchasing power parity" method). How quickly Turkey can catch up with the EU is, then, a key question.
Öniþ, an economics professor at Boðaziçi University, an optimist. In his collection of twenty-seven essays, he shows how far Turkey has come in recent years, reorienting itself from the inward-looking, state-dominated economy of the 1970s. The essays are arranged in chronological order (dating back to 1985), which places the least interesting and most technical ones first; read the book from back to front.
Particularly of note are the dozen essays in which Öniþ compares Turkey to other rapidly growing economies in East Asia and Latin America, on issues ranging from overall approach to vulnerability to a financial crisis. He highlights the importance of social consensus and of a broad constituency for reforms, which may require moving slower than economists would prefer. Indeed, the strengthening of democratic institutions in Turkey has gone hand in hand with economic reform, becoming a more open society more in tune with the rest of Europe.
Related Topics: Turkey and Turks | Patrick Clawson | June 2000 MEQ
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