Military Review

Yevgeny Pozhidaev: A failed empire: who confronts whom, and why, on Turkish streets?

Yevgeny Pozhidaev: A failed empire: who confronts whom, and why, on Turkish streets?"Here are some of the theses that were voiced by young people:" my expectations are justice and democracy ";" I can leave the country ";" I do not expect anything from 2023, it’s enough that it will not be worse than today ";" I can't imagine my life even in 5 years. "

The state "ranks 24-th place in the world among the countries with the highest level of" brain drain "abroad. 73% of university students want to live abroad. 77% of those who receive education abroad do not intend to return. 58% of migrants have higher education."

This is not a report from the Swamp, and not a description of the situation in Russia - we are talking about Turkey. An outward expression of these pessimistic moods is the May revolts, periodically covering almost all the major cities of Turkey. They, in turn, are provoked by fundamental factors that foreshadow a long period of instability in the country.

The first factor typical of the entire Islamic world is demographic. Turkey, of course, is not Yemen or Egypt - the birth rate in Turkey is below the level of simple reproduction, having made a child per woman (approximately the level of England and the USA) in 2012 against 1,9 in Libya, 2,5 in Egypt, 2,69 in Syria, 2,87 in Yemen (all data for 5,09). At the same time, the geographical differentiation of fertility is noteworthy - if the country's conservative east is stuck somewhere between Yemen and Egypt (2011 fertility), then the westernized west is between Germany and Holland (3,42 fertility). The average age of the population for a Muslim country is large enough - 1,55 year (Yemen 30,1, Syria - 18,1, 21, Egypt - 9, Libya - 24,3).

However, as early as the beginning of 90, Turkish women from Istanbul to Kars gave birth to an average of three children. As a result, the proportion of young people in the country is now very large. In general, the demographics of Turkey almost perfectly coincide with the demographics of Tunisia (2,13 child per woman and average age 30 years). As in Tunisia, it is the youth of 19-25 who make up the bulk of the protesters. In other words, as in most of the troubled countries of the Greater Middle East, we see in Turkey a “youth hillock” - albeit with the nuances characteristic of the most westernized countries of the region. In other words, the country is characterized by a race between the rapidly growing number of younger-age working-age population and the economy that creates jobs. Until recently, the economy won this race - the number of jobs grew, although not much, but faster than the population.

Until very recently, the economic история Turkey is basically a success story. Turkish economy in 1980-1990 grew on average by 5,3% per year, in 1990-1998. - on 4,5%. The economic crisis of 1999-2001-th reduced it by almost 10%, but then a new, even more powerful breakthrough began. In 2002-2007 GDP grew, on average, by 7,4%, 2008 - it grew by another 5,8%. As a result, by 2007, GDP per capita at purchasing power parity was 87,7% of Russia. The agrarian status of the country (at the end of 60, agriculture in the country gave 30% of GDP) was far in the past - by the 2007, the agrarian sector gave 8,9%, less than, for example, in Australia.

However, Turkish growth had its own characteristics. Firstly, it was greatly stimulated by the inflow of foreign direct investment. Twice having liberalized their legislation in their relation (in 1980 and post-crisis 2002), Turkey achieved a gigantic increase in the volume of imported capital. So, if 1979. the volume of investment in the Turkish economy was only a ridiculous $ 75 million, then in 1990. - already $ 684 million, in 2001 - almost $ 3,4 billion. With 2005, a particularly powerful investment boom began, and in 2007, the volume of foreign direct investment reached $ 22 billion. Secondly, in contrast to China, which has turned in the “workshop of the world” and the previous “line” of the “Asian tigers”, the industrialization processes in Turkey were relatively weak to the middle of the “zero” - the service sector turned out to be dominant in the economy. Industry in 2005 accounted for 25% of GDP, while services accounted for 64,3% as compared to 58% in 1995. So, in 2005, Turkey depended on tourism even to a slightly greater degree than the Russian Federation depended on the oil and gas complex (7% of GDP). The structure of the industry was also archaic — even in the second half of the zero, light and food-flavoring industries prevailed in industrial production. By 2007, the share of industry in GDP reached 30%, and the share of services was 59,3%.

Features of the economic structure predetermined the place of Turkey in the global division of labor. Exports grew more than twice as fast as the economy as a whole (16,8% over 2005), however, it had a very specific structure. If we ignore the quirks of Turkish statistics, which consider “industrial” exports of products of primary processing of agricultural raw materials (for example, vegetable and animal oils, salted and smoked fish), then the actual share of finished products and semi-finished products in Turkish exports did not exceed 25% even in 2007. In this case, it was mainly about the production of light and food industry. Adjusted for the specifics of local statistics, exports of agricultural products continued to prevail, while often far from being essential. So, a very significant part of the agricultural exports of Turkey are nuts and tobacco.

Meanwhile, the situation in the market for the same textiles in the “zero” was not too favorable due to the competition of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and other countries with cheap and even more numerous labor force. As a result, despite the rapid growth of exports, he chronically lagged behind the pace of import growth. As a result, by 2007 there was a situation when exports amounted to $ 144 billion, while imports - $ 178 billion (negative trade balance - 23,6%). The result was a rapid increase in foreign debt - in the first quarter of 2007, it amounted to $ 112,7 billion (growth over the month of 4 by 2,7 billion). The external debt of companies at the same time reached $ 158,9 billion (an increase of 9,5 billion over the same period). By itself, the volume of debt, cautiously speaking, was not critical (Turkey’s GDP in 2007 was $ 647 billion), but the growth rate was alarming.

In other words, the Turkish “miracle” had two of the key weaknesses of the Chinese (dependence on the export of raw materials and on foreign investment, and on a much larger scale than China), and at the same time did not have its strengths. As a result, the crisis has affected Turkey quite strongly. GDP, reaching $ 730 billion in 2008, fell to $ 615 billion, nominal per capita GDP fell from $ 10293 to $ 8560. Nevertheless, the Turkish economy began to recover quickly: growth in 2010 was 8,9%, in 2011 a year - 8,5%. The GDP per capita already in 2011-m was slightly higher than the 2008-th year.

However, an over-reliance on foreign investment made itself felt. Foreign direct investment in industry in 2009 has fallen by 62%. The following year, the decline continued. In 2011, the flow recovered to $ 14,34 billion, but last year investments dropped again to $ 12,38 billion. In parallel, there was a contraction in demand in the EU’s key EU market (slightly less than half of exports). As a result, the growth rate of the economy in 2012 amounted to only 2,2%. At the same time, Turkey, having restored and exceeding the pre-crisis volume of GDP, was not able to restore its pre-crisis structure - the share of industry in GDP is now less than in 2007 and amounts to 28%.

In other words, in Turkey we see a classic set of fundamental prerequisites for a long-term political crisis: first, the classic “youth hillock”; secondly, a sharp slowdown in the economy after a long period of rapid growth. The latter in itself causes a "crisis of expectations"; in combination with the “tide” of the able-bodied population in the labor market, the slowdown in growth has led to the Turkish economy losing the race of the Turkish demography - the youth unemployment rate has reached 20,4%. This is not yet Tunisia with its 31%, however, in combination with other factors, it is already enough to provoke "swamp" effects. Finally, the inhibition of the economy, combined with the preservation of its archaic structure and the mass of well-educated young people, throws a very specific contingent on the street, which has rather high ambitions - among those with higher education, unemployment reaches 58%. As a result, although Turkey is not Egypt, and so far not even Tunisia, the face of Taksim strikingly resembles the face of Tahrir.

Meanwhile, the economic and demographic background in Turkey is superimposed by purely political contradictions - including the intra-elite split, which, as we know, is the third key prerequisite for the “revolution”. So, who and who confronts on the Turkish streets?

The opposition in one way or another is the carrier of the Kemalist paradigm that has dominated the political field of Turkey for eight decades. Kemal Ataturk's “Six Arrows" included "revolutionism" - i.e. the fight against traditional society and westernization; secularism (laicism) - i.e. separation of religion from the state; republicanism - the principle of democracy (the country is ruled by the prime minister with the decorative role of the president precisely because the new Turkey was originally conceived as a parliamentary republic); nationalism.

It is worth dwelling on the latter. The Ottoman Empire, the Sultan of which considered itself the lord of all the faithful (Pan-Islamism was assumed by default), was a kind of Sunni International, in which ethnic Turks often turned out to be far from the leading roles. However, since 1870-s, as Westernization proceeded, Turkish ethnic nationalism (with its derived Pan-Turkism) began to gain strength in the empire, with the Young Turks becoming the most prominent spokesmen for the ideas.

Having come to power in the country actually transformed into ruins by the Young Turks, Kemal put forward the concept of a "civic nation", almost literally duplicating the French one. From now on, all citizens of the Turkish Republic, regardless of their origin and religion, were considered Turks and, in theory, had equal rights. At the price of the question was voluntary-compulsory assimilation based on a common language and a common secular culture: “How happy is the speaker:“ I am Turkish! ”. As a result, the republic got hold of a conflict with the Kurds who were not eager to part with their identity, lasting from the beginning of its existence ( 1925 g.).

In modern Turkey, the paradigm of this paradigm to one degree or another is the middle class of large cities, especially in the west of the country, the army and big business.

However, from the very beginning, the problem of the Kemalists was not only the Kurds. The majority of the population, to put it mildly, was not thrilled either by secularization or modernization, which destroyed the foundations of traditional society — the result was the establishment of an army-based authoritarian, and then semi-authoritarian regime, designed to shield Kemal’s ideas from excessive manifestations of the “people”. Opposition to him, starting with 1970's, was "political Islam", based on the conservative lower class, the "outback" and the equally conservative traditional bourgeoisie of the east and center of the country. The opposition has offered the voter a set of "Islamic values", anti-capitalist and anti-Western rhetoric. So, Erdogan’s ideological predecessor, Erbakan, preferred to develop relations not with the West, but with Islamic countries. So, he initiated the creation of the "Islamic G8". Behind the Islamist project, by definition international, by the same definition loomed the specter of neo-Ottomanism.

For the first time, Islamists came to power in 1996, when Erbakan became prime minister. However, as early as 1997, he was removed from power by the military, and Orthodox political Islam had sunk into oblivion. It was replaced by a compromise project, acceptable not only for conservatives, but also for cosmopolitan large business. Moderate "Islamic values" were complemented by a change of vector from East to West (the course toward EU membership) and economic liberalism. In this form, the project turned out to be acceptable to virtually all groups of the population and the elite - and in 2002, the Islamist Justice and Harmony Party won the parliamentary elections. Abdullah Gul, Erdogan stood behind the prime minister, and in 2003, the “chief” himself sat in the prime minister’s chair.

However, the compromise was short-lived. From 2007, Erdogan spoke openly about the inevitability of the Islamization of Turkey, and the words quickly turned into concrete actions. At the same time, it is worth noting that, apart from Islamization and Erdogan’s obvious authoritarian tendencies, attempts to introduce a multi-ethnic “Neo-Ottoman” identity have also been on the agenda - the Islamists are trying to use the term Türkles (a local analogue of the term “Russian”) instead of the traditional Türk / Turks. In addition to the endless problems with the Kurdish minority, the Kemalist format of the "nation-state" was not expected to be too convenient for expanding Turkish influence beyond its own borders. Meanwhile, Ankara is being pushed towards this not only by “Islamist internationalism”, but also by objective reasons - it is the Greater Middle East, and not Europe, which are Turkey’s most profitable trading partner (of all EU countries, the republic has a positive trade balance with Britain only). However, the "Ottoman" policy is just as expectedly provoked protest from nationalist-minded Turks.

In other words, the wobbly compromise was broken. The premier’s intention to defiantly demolish Atatürk’s cultural center (where the Istanbul Opera Theater was not sufficiently Islamic from the point of view of the ballet’s premiere) and to build a shopping and entertainment complex on the site of Gezi Park was just the last straw that broke the patience and provoked protests. In other words, the traditional conflict between the “Westerners” and the “Pochenniki” superimposed on the demographic pressure and a sharp slowdown of the economy. How will the situation develop further?

In the first five months of 2013, the amount of foreign direct investment in the Turkish economy was only $ 4,22 billion, which is 35% less than in the same period last year. At the same time, the trade and balance of payments remain negative - and there is nothing to compensate for their deficit in the face of declining capital inflows. As a result, in July, Turkey was forced to spend $ 2,25 billion of its poor (less than $ 45 billion) gold reserves to support the falling lira, but its course still decreased, which creates inflation risks. As a result, Turkey can either continue to spend its gold and foreign exchange reserves (meanwhile, the country has a rather impressive debt burden, which includes a growing share of expensive short-term liabilities), or raise interest rates, thereby suppressing the accelerated growth of the economy. On the other hand, unemployment spurred by demography is growing (plus 0,8% compared to the same period last year - up to 8,8%), throwing the next “portions” of educated and ambitious youth onto the labor market.

In other words, Turkey has all the prerequisites for further economic stagnation. There are also for the growth of the number of the disaffected. At the same time, the political situation for the Islamists is unfavorable in the long term. The semi-agrarian Turkish “outback” after a period of economic growth has to a considerable extent lost its economic significance, which once rested on a solid foundation of tobacco and cotton. The tactics of strangling the army, which, for example, adhered to Tunisian President Ben Ali, with a systematic mass discontent gives often non-trivial result. Erdogan doesn’t have a chance to effectively speak on the foreign policy arena - Turkey simply doesn’t have enough money for a “little victorious war”.

Of course, the problems of Turkey so far do not go to any comparison with the problems of Egypt or at least Tunisia. However, a period of instability for it is almost inevitable. Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman ambitions are still in the background. What we will see in the end: the collapse of the Islamist project or the frankly authoritarian regime is extremely difficult to determine.
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  1. biglow
    biglow 24 September 2013 11: 01
    good analysis of the situation in Turkey,
    The fact that the crisis reached out and can be confirmed to Turkey by the fact that now the Turks deliver all the goods to the port at their own expense and they themselves all load the ship. And when they had a lot of buyers, they took money for each movement, they could not respond to mail messages for a week. Now, in front of each client, it should be spread like a carpet, if only I would buy and pay money ...
    1. biglow
      biglow 24 September 2013 16: 51
      who is minus I’ll write that before the crisis, the Turks took money for delivering goods to the port and so on for each form and in general for all that is possible and impossible. The crisis began to squeeze them only a year and a half ago. Then the tone of conversation began to change and everything else ..
      And before the crisis, they could easily close for lunch and start working only the next day ... And now they forgot about all their holidays and always work when it’s convenient for the buyer
  2. Black
    Black 24 September 2013 16: 06
    In my humble opinion ... (based on a trip by car in Turetchin).
    Enormous road construction, housing (over the past 10 years the country has become unrecognizable), an incredible number of factories for the production of building materials, fertilizers, developed infrastructure of the tourist industry, etc., etc.
    It seemed to me that the Turkish "swamps" are special forces of the pro-European forces, provoking chaos, with the aim of redirecting tourist flows from Turkey to European countries.
    1. Zhenya
      Zhenya 24 September 2013 16: 43
      If the Russians would stop traveling to Turkey to rest, where we are being bullied, robbed, beaten ... they would have lost 50% of the budget from tourism, enough to feed the enemy.
      1. Yeraz
        Yeraz 24 September 2013 19: 27
        Quote: Marrying
        If the Russians would stop traveling to Turkey to rest, where our are poisoned, robbed, beaten ...

        Well then, the Russians who go there in such conditions or are either Masazists, or it’s not like you describe and do the usual trolling, telling about isolated cases, as about a trend.
        1. Zhenya
          Zhenya 24 September 2013 23: 07
          Yeraz Cases are far from single
  3. RUSS
    RUSS 24 September 2013 16: 40
    A standard Middle Eastern country: an educated "European" population in the cities, and 15% illiterate in the outback of agrarians, high unemployment. The Turks cannot see the European Union as their ears.
    1. zennon
      zennon 24 September 2013 22: 09
      The Turks cannot see the European Union as their ears.

      Perhaps this will surprise you, but at one time Turkey was invited to the geysoyuz, but they refused.
  4. Ruslan_F38
    Ruslan_F38 24 September 2013 17: 01
    Judging by the article in Turkey, it is simply ".opa", which cannot but rejoice, first of all by the fact that the sick in the head and bloodthirsty Erdogan needs not to think about the restoration of the Ottoman Empire, but to solve internal problems and, most importantly, to get rid of Syria, but it is better to get rid of it altogether. politicians in a psychiatric hospital - there his doctors have long been tired of waiting.
  5. major071
    major071 24 September 2013 17: 07
    Ataturk proclaimed Turkey a secular state heading west. The Erdogan government is trying to make an Islamic state out of Turkey. There is an opposition in the army to Erdogan, with whom he is successfully fighting so far (as proved by the arrests of the military this summer, including the generals). Their problems to the heap, where there to the Great Turan! laughing
  6. a52333
    a52333 24 September 2013 17: 33
    It is not yet clear when the mericatos are going to attack Iran, how it will spin. Although . in the last world, it is not clear who they will be slaughtering the next, maybe not Iran, but the Saudis. Those, too, realized that clouds were gathering over them, and Bandar traveled not for nothing to talk about GDP, not only to talk about Syria.
  7. Yeraz
    Yeraz 24 September 2013 19: 30
    Turks will return to Islam and go to this and they always had a healthy conscious Islam, and not like Arabs with temperature differences. A Western lifestyle only leads to degradation of both the individual and society as a whole. And the conflict is always a gap between strong societies and the spiritually strong society won, and not the materially secured society.
  8. alone
    alone 24 September 2013 19: 52
    Turkey is not Egypt, not Tunisia, nor Libya, nor Syria. There is a clear electoral system. Turkish leaders do not sit on the throne for 35-40 years. If Erdogan is tired, his party will lose the election and that's it. Everything is decided by the people.
    and yet. you should not pay attention to what the TV channels show. in Syria they showed a 3-5 thousand crowd in Homs and called it the anger of the people. And in Damascus, rallies of millions took place, but not a word about that. in Turkey, the media broadcast a whole week a message about some people who staged solitary protests, when as I myself witnessed a 3 million rally in support of the authorities in the same Istanbul.

    media are corrupt. That weather is done by those who pay.
  9. slacker
    slacker 24 September 2013 21: 39
    Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria ... Who is next? Iran? Or maybe Turkey?
  10. ayyildiz
    ayyildiz 25 September 2013 00: 19
    As a result, in July, Turkey was forced to spend $ 2,25 billion of its poor (less than $ 45 billion) gold and foreign exchange reserves to support the falling lira, but its rate still dropped, which creates inflation risks.

    Turkey has 130. Billion dollars of foreign exchange reserves!
  11. Aljavad
    Aljavad 25 September 2013 01: 27
    Thanks for the detailed article! A good example for those who feel good everywhere except Russia. That's all they say about the "oil needle". I agree. But still EVERY country sits on its own, special "needle": Turkey - on tourism, China - on rare earth elements, Chile - on copper ... states - on bucks. However, there is a tendency ... Maybe this is what the international division of labor and the notorious globalization are leading to? An alternative? Subsistence farming, the iron curtains and the mass “invention of the bicycle”? Also bad. It turns out that the crisis is global, and there is no way out of it for our civilization ...
    About other. I remembered the 1990s, Turkish bazaars and our "shuttles" (myself among them). For the first time we arrived - a textbook Black Sea town, white huts under the tiles climb uphill, narrow crooked streets. the wild ragamuffins grab the tarpaulin and greatcoats from ours with a bang, and immediately "dress up" in them ...
    A year later, high-rise buildings were built around the bazaar. The hotel - for the first time I saw - proud two stars! A year later - a chic new marble mosque, built by a Turk who got rich on "shuttles".
    In those years, Soviet industry was scolded in every way, all type, badly. But the Turks took away any nail. Here, I think, one of the prerequisites for their economic boom. The influx of cheap goods and a HUGE sales market for all their own illiquid assets.