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Turkey is a Real Country Now, and Gets It (Conclusion)

October 18, 2010

What began as just a quick little riff on the China-Turkey talks has now taken in far more than that. This is now the concluding piece in the series, where we discuss “what it all means” in sober, analytical, tones.

For all of the talk we talk about analysis and solution-based writing on Turkish issues, a lot of this blog is more “raising questions” than “finding answers.” This series is really a good example of that. I’ve been talking about foreign policy but haven’t even mentioned Davutoglu. The point isn’t to be a definitive story on Turkish Foreign Policy, but rather to draw a few brief sketches and see what we can glean from them. I’m most interested in stoking interest and getting people asking questions for them to find the answers themselves (unless they want to buy me a tea and pick my brain. I am soooo ok with that). Well, that and post pictures of Erdogan looking ridiculous.

They’re looking at an engine because Recep Tayyip is dressed like a used car salesman

So there is no real narrative here. The closest there is to one is just your standard “Country that used to be developing is now kinda developed and trying to figure out what to do about that.” But we can probably go a bit deeper.

It’s worth mentioning through all of this that Turkey’s main trade partners are still Germany, the rest of Europe, and the US. Turkey is in the European Customs Union and is a huge industrial hub. This is important. And I didn’t even get into Turkish trade with the Arab lands or with European countries because, well, I’m not as interested in that sort of thing, and this is my blog.

The Turkish economy is growing. And there are some smart captains of industry in it. Not only that, but Turkey is right in the middle of many, many, developing economies. There’s really no mature economic base anywhere nearby, and Turkey can then serve them all fairly handily.


A New, Innovative, use of the 6 Arrows

It’s less of a ideological guide than good business. When you neighbor a lot of economies less well off than you, it helps to trade with them. “Zero Problems with Neighbors” is less about having Muslim countries, more about having poor neighbors. Which is why actually doing business with Armenia would be such a coup, but I digress…

A lot of what we try to do here is demystify Turkey. Turkey is just a country. An awesome one with lots of pretty architecture and awesome food and cool people that speak a neat language. But it’s just a country. The political people do the same thing political people in all real countries do, and the businessfolk do the same thing businesspeople do in all economically open countries.

We are not dealing with Libya or even Syria here. We are not dealing with Iran or with Greece. We’re dealing with a country that, in many many ways, resembles our own. We’re dealing with people that are a whole lot like ourselves.

In my series I tried to draw some small examples of Turkish business acting, well, awfully rationally. The people in charge of said companies try to use what strengths they have in order to break into local markets. This may be education/worldliness in Central Asia, heavy industry and relatively cheap engineering in Albania, and hotel management and construction knowledge in Kurdistan. The government has no problem sacrificing ideals when there’s a pot o’ gold at the end, as in the Chinese case. People act out of self-interest and to allow their children to have a better life. Horatio Alger would be at home. Turks aren’t martians, here. They’re people much like Americans but with little bumps on the base of their skulls and affinities for moustaches.

Yeahhhh, sorta like this. Sorta.

So hopefully I did enough to prove that. Hopefully I’ve convinced you all, through these few thousand words, that Turkey isn’t to be “dealt with” through any mixture of magic, high-level-talks, or some such. It’s just an ascendant country full of dudes and gals. We are going to focus on a lot of micro-level things here, because they’re the most fascinating. But on the macro, it’s just a country. A photogenic one, but just a country. So no reason to treat it and the people living in it with such agog.

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