Creative Industries Turkey
Global Development Turkey at Red Yellow Blue (RYB)
Power of creative industries
Hatice Utkan Özden
In the 21st century, it is impossible to think about arts and culture without creative industries. Creative industries sound fairly new for Turkey’s majority. They are one of the key ingredients of the country’s future as it gathers architecture, design, plastic arts, new media, culture and advertising sector and create a new hub for these different sectors to work together.
The latest research, which was conducted as part of the “Connect for Creativity” project, proves how creative industries become more and more important each year. The research also shows how creative hubs are coming to the fore as tools for shifting economies. While in Turkey it is hard to speak about arts and culture in terms of a power shifting economy, creative justifies the opposite.
Turkey’s largely free-market economy is driven by its industry and, increasingly, service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. The automotive, petrochemical, and electronics industries have risen in importance and surpassed the traditional textiles and clothing sectors within Turkey’s export mix. However, the recent period of political stability and economic dynamism has given way to domestic uncertainty and security concerns, which are generating financial market volatility and weighing on Turkey’s economic outlook.
Current government policies emphasize populist spending measures and credit breaks, while implementation of structural economic reforms has slowed. The government is playing a more active role in some strategic sectors and has used economic institutions and regulators to target political opponents, undermining private sector confidence in the judicial system. Between July 2016 and March 2017, three credit ratings agencies downgraded Turkey’s sovereign credit ratings, citing concerns about the rule of law and the pace of economic reforms.
Turkey remains highly dependent on imported oil and gas but is pursuing energy relationships with a broader set of international partners and taking steps to increase use of domestic energy sources including renewables, nuclear, and coal. The joint Turkish-Azerbaijani Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline is moving forward to increase transport of Caspian gas to Turkey and Europe, and when completed will help diversify Turkey’s sources of imported gas.
After Turkey experienced a severe financial crisis in 2001, Ankara adopted financial and fiscal reforms as part of an IMF program. The reforms strengthened the country’s economic fundamentals and ushered in an era of strong growth, averaging more than 6% annually until 2008. An aggressive privatization program also reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, power generation, and communication. Global economic conditions and tighter fiscal policy caused GDP to contract in 2009, but Turkey’s well-regulated financial markets and banking system helped the country weather the global financial crisis, and GDP growth rebounded to around 9% in 2010 and 2011, as exports and investment recovered following the crisis.
The growth of Turkish GDP since 2016 has revealed the persistent underlying imbalances in the Turkish economy. In particular, Turkey’s large current account deficit means it must rely on external investment inflows to finance growth, leaving the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence. Other troublesome trends include rising unemployment and inflation, which increased in 2017, given the Turkish lira’s continuing depreciation against the dollar. Although government debt remains low at about 30% of GDP, bank and corporate borrowing has almost tripled as a percent of GDP during the past decade, outpacing its emerging-market peers and prompting investor concerns about its long-term sustainability.