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中国株レポート
投資の視点
新興成長国基礎データ
中華人民共和国
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Geography

The Republic of Turkey straddles Europe and Asia, 97% in Asia (the Anatolian plateau) and 3% in Europe (Eastern Thrace) covering a land area of 780,576 sq.km. of which 32% is arable and 26% forested. Turkey's coastline faces three seas (Black, Aegean and Mediterranean) and stretches 8,000 km, while her strategic location between Europe and Asia is evident from her neighbours which comprise Bulgaria, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Georgia and Armenia.

Demography

A 1992 estimate put the population at 58.6 million. The population growth rate of 2.4% since 1985 is high in European terms. Once overwhelmingly rural, about 59% of Turkey's population now lives in towns; Istanbul has a population of 6,620,000 and Ankara (the capital) 3,462,999. The population is almost entirely Muslim, with up to 20% belonging to Shia sects, and some 20% Kurdish speakers (mainly Sunni Muslims).

There has been a strong emphasis on technical and vocational education in recent years. In general, teaching standards are well below European standards in most of the country. Despite this, literacy rate is probably around 85%. There is a civilian labour force of around 19.1 million which will continue to grow rapidly. In 1990, OECD figures suggested that approximately 49% of employment was still in agriculture, 15.4% in industry with 5.2% and 30% in construction and services respectively.

History and Political Situation

The Turkish republic was established from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, with Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) as its first president. Considering the fighting against European powers which preceded the republic it was remarkable that Ataturk insisted in aligning Turkey firmly with the West in the modernisation programmes which followed. More remarkable was the formal creation in 1928 of a secular state out of a country whose population was (and is) about 98% Islamic. This development followed the replacement of Islamic law, dress and Arabic Alphabet with European substitutes.

A belief in the desirability of a secular state (and in the role of the armed forces as the ultimate means of preserving it) appears still to be held by the vast majority of Turks - or at least those in relatively advanced central and western parts of the country. In the more primitive, rural and indeed semi-feudal east and south-east matters are more problematic. The South East Anatolian (GAP) irrigation project is an effort to integrate this region of Turkey with the rest of the country in economic, and ultimately, in cultural terms.

The military took over rule in 1982 from a minority conservative government led by Mr. Demirel. In 1983, democratic rule (with certain restrictions) was re-established, with a government formed by Mr.Ozal's Motherland Party (ANAP). In 1987, ANAP rule was confirmed by general election. Thereafter ANAP became identified with high inflation and the resultant unacceptably inequitable distribution of incomes which emerged by 1988. In consequence ANAP suffered a humiliating reversal in the local elections in March 1989, where its share of the popular vote fell to 22%, in third place after the Social Democratic Populist Party's 28% and the True Path Party's 25%.

Mr. Ozal was elected President in November 1989 as successor to Kenan Everen. The government's failure to bring down inflation cost it much of its initial popularity. Ozal's election to the Presidency also affected the Motherland Party's fortunes, since his two successors as prime minister, Yildirim Akbult (November 1989 - June 1991) and Mesut Yilmaz (June - November 1991), failed to make their mark with the electorate. After the early general elections in October 1991, the party was driven into second place behind the True Path headed by Demirel.. In May 1993, Demirel became President after the death of Ozal, and Mrs Tansu Ciller has subsequently become Prime Minister.

The Kurdish minority probably accounts for about 15% of the total population, and is distinguished from the Turkish ethnic majority by language but not religion. Over the last few years, and especially since 1990, the Kurdish question has grown into what is probably Turkey's major domestic political problem, and the main threat to law and order.

The break up of the USSR removed what was previously the major threat to Turkey's security, but has brought new problems as well as opportunities in its wake. The Turks feel a cultural affinity with the Muslim peoples of the Transcaucasus and Central Asia (all of whom, except for the Tajiks, speak languages related to Turkish), and the present leaders of the new republics also claim that they wish to follow the Turkish model of secular democratic politics and a market economy, rather than the Islamic model represented by Iran. The Turkish government is active in promoting its cultural and political influences in the region, and Turkish traders and other businessmen are interested in developing new markets to their east.

Turkey has also taken the lead in forming a Black Sea Economic Corporation Region, which includes all the other Black Sea states (that is Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia) as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan, although neither of the last two has a coastline on the Black Sea. As yet, its main significance is political: although there has been talk of the eventual construction of a formal free trade zone, easier trade seems the most realistic goal at present.

Economy

Whilst official economic data are an unreliable guide to reality, since they exclude the black economy and include evasive statistics from the State Economic Enterprises, they do highlight a key feature (and key problem) of Turkey - namely that too much of the economy is in the public sector: on published figures half of GDP and three-quarters of industrial output is in state hands.

The public sector, including the State Economic Enterprises (SEE's), has traditionally had recourse via the Treasury to the Central Bank for funds to finance deficits as well as investment programmes. Not unnaturally, easy access to almost unlimited funding has encouraged abuses and removed incentives for proper planning of investment by the SEEs, which have suffered from low levels of productivity and lack of proper financial controls. The money printed to finance the SEEs and the major programme of infrastructure development which began in 1983 had a predictable effect on inflation, but the 75% rate hit in 1988 appeared to have finally awoken the Turks to the impossibility of continuing to run the economy in this way. Political arguments continue to rage about how change should be made, but all agree it is necessary.

The broadly favoured solution is privatisation, and this process has already begun. The two key problems are the extremely poor financial condition of many SEEs and the shortage of private sector capital relative to the amount of the economy which needs privatising. The obvious solution to the latter problem is to tap foreign capital, and this is being done in a limited way - caution is necessary, however, in that surrendering control of Turkish assets to foreigners is not universally popular. A major step forward was taken in August 1989 when the Turkish stock market was opened to foreign investors in a much more dramatic fashion than had been envisaged up to only a few months previously.

Besides privatisation, the government has been introducing other measures to improve economic performance : these include improving the convertibility of the currency, granting independence to the Central Bank (in theory at least) and making concerted efforts to improve the statistical database to integrate the real economy with monetary data.

Change will be neither smooth nor easy, but it is underway and will permit Turkey to exploit more fully its competitive advantages of a low-cost, hard working labour force that is strategically well positioned to supply goods to Europe as well as the Middle Eastern countries and former COMECON nations. The assault on public sector inefficiencies is being accompanied by entrepreneurial development in the private sector which should lead to continued supply of investment opportunities.

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