The Turkish Weltanschauung
WASHINGTON, DC (September 24, 2011) - Turkey has been all over the headlines recently. The country’s relations with many of its neighbors – Syria, Israel, Iran and Cyprus – have soured in recent months. But on the economic front, everything continues to bloom. Turkey recent posted a growth rate that exceeded China’s.
So it was an especially timely moment for the Bertelsmann Foundation to host an off-the-record discussion for Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan during his recent trip to Washington, DC for the World Bank/IMF fall meetings. The minister’s delegation included the central-bank governor, Erdem Başçı.
The Foundation brought together financial-sector executives, international-affiars journalists, diplomats, Capitol Hill staffers and academics for an open exchange with Minister Babacan, one of Turkey’s most influential policymakers. After introductory remarks by Bertelsmann Foundation Executive Director Annette Heuser, the minister opened the evening with an overview of the Turkish economy, the Turkish view of global economic and financial developments, and an analysis of the situation in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean.
The subsequent discussion, moderated by Gillian Tett, Financial Times US managing editor, addressed fears that the Turkish economy may be overheating and questioned the sustainability of Turkish growth. Minister Babacan used the opportunity, however, to affirm Turkey’s commitment to the EU accession process.
The event was the first example of cooperation between the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Turkish embassy in Washington, and the Turkish government. All parties agreed on the desirability of continuing to work together to increase communication and strengthen links between Turkey and the US and Europe.