Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill highlighted the spectacular growth that Turkey has undergone in recent years during a Radio 4 documentary this week, adding that there are no signs of the country’s economy taking its foot off the gas.
O’Neill was visiting Turkey as part of his tour of the MINT countries, which he has identified as future global powerhouses that could change the world if they reach their economic potential.
“In 2,000 per capita income [in Turkey] was just over $3,500 a head,” said O’Neill. “Today, it’s nearly trebled and you can see this growth and the fruits of it all over the place. Here in the [Istanbul] business district, there are huge skyscapers, new apartment buildings, lots of shopping malls – all symbols of this huge growth. The city is soon going to have the biggest airport in the world, there’s a third bridge going over the Bosphorus and what’s more, there are no signs of Turkey slowing down.”
The BBC documentary pointed out that in 1984, there were only two shopping centres in Turkey, while today there are close to 300, illustrating why Turkey is referred to as a “catch-up economy”.
Sigificantly, O’Neill highlighted how Turkey is now longer just an important hub along the Silk Road, namely between East and West. He said that it is forging commercial relationships with the South and North too, in particular Africa and the “vacuum left left by the demise of the Soviet Union”.
During his visit to Istanbul, O’Neill visited the training centre for crew of Turkey’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines – now the world’s fastest growing airline, and mentioned how air access was playing a role in the country's success.