Beyond the 2001 financial crisis: The political economy of the new phase of neo-liberal restructuring in Turkey

Prof. Ziya Onis


Turkey has experienced consecutive financial crises in 2000 and 2001. The crisis of 2001 was particularly far-reaching in terms of its impact, resulting in a major collapse of output and employment. It was also quite distinct in terms of its income distributional consequences in the sense that not only the wage earners, but all sections of society at varying degrees encountered its negative consequences. The crisis also provided an avenue for a new wave of neo-liberal restructuring with a major emphasis on regulatory reforms. Turkey’s political economy in the post-2001 era is investigated on the basis of four key inter-related elements: the impact of the IMF and the World Bank; the restructuring of the state’s relationship with the domestic financial sector especially through regulatory reforms; the opening up of Turkey to foreign direct investment; and the adoption of a wide range of reforms modelled on the European Union, in line with the goal of entry into the EU. Indeed, the regional context associated with EU conditionality has provided the political focus of the process as a whole. A key hypothesis is that Turkey continues to be vulnerable in spite of the fact that the banking sector is much more tightly regulated in line with international norms during the post-crisis era.


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