Structural economic woes waiting to be solved

Though the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won a commanding 49 percent in the Nov. 1 election, it faces an economy weakened across numerous fields.
Amid a troubled lira, persistently high unemployment, low growth rates, disappointing tourism figures and weakened consumer confidence, the government faces a difficult road ahead.
h2 Growth down to 3 percenth2 While average growth over Turkeyand’s 92-year history has been 4.8 percent, the country has fallen well below its potential, receding to a dismal 2.9 percent last year while hitting the 3.1 percent mark during the first half of 2015, below government forecasts for 4 percent for the year. The current rates are especially low in comparison to recent years, when Turkey enjoyed 8-9 percent growth as little as half a decade ago.
Turkeyand’s manufacturing sector shrank again in October but at a slower rate than the previous month as inflation eased off its September peak and employment grew, a survey showed on Monday.
Key to growth, its exports performance is also lagging below the desired level. Turkish exports shrank by 8.6 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months of this year to $119.6 billion. The government recently revised its export target from $172 billion to $143 billion, a figure economists believe is hard to attain amid unfavorable market conditions.
h2 Millions unemployed, inflation highh2 puksel opened the shop, and the business thrived through the andlsquo90s before the widespread access to a certain technological innovation dried up profits. and”When the Internet wasnand’t around, things were great,and” Ergin told Sundayand’s Zaman. He once carried a selection of 5,000 films to rent, but in the era of MP3s and streaming, no oneand’s renting or buying. The remainder of his VHS rental stock is displayed front and center, though they arenand’t exactly flying off the shelves. and”No oneand’s buying cassettes anymore, either,and” Ergin said flatly, though that hasnand’t prompted him to disassemble the expansive wall of tapes. Ergin has tried to stay relevant, evidenced by the posters aertising the newest albums from rapper Ceza and pop singer Gandulien on his front door. A case by the register features a modest selection of new releases imported from Turkey while a small row of tesbih prayer beads hangs near the window. He proudly announces that nothing he sells is a copy or bootleg, all original. The Ergins were among the waves of Turkish guest workers who left for Germany in the 1970s. They first lived in the northern city of Kiel, where Ergin worked in a plastics factory. They eventually settled in Berlin, where they havenand’t exactly abandoned the plastics trade.
and”I can return at any time, but my family is here,and” Ergin said, switching to the German word for family. The couple has three children and eight grandchildren. The Erginsand’ shop might not be generating much revenue — in fact the couple dips into their pensions to cover rent and expenses. They proudly admit that they keep it open as a hobby and enjoy the frequent visitors, Turkish and German alike, who are curious about the shop and its story. The shop is a miniature museum capturing the era of the VCR, the Walkman and a time when renting a film or purchasing an album actually required interacting with a small business owner rather than clicking a mouse. The Ergins appear young for their age and possess a vitality that doesnand’t seem to have dwindled as profits have disappeared. They enjoy opening the shop every day and find it to be a constructive and fulfilling routine. and”Staying at home is boring. Next thing you know you get sick and wind up in the hospital,and” Yanduksel Ergin said. and”They call me and’muhtarand’ around here,and” Ergin said, referring to the Turkish term for the elected head of a neighborhood. He was the first Turkish guest worker to open a shop on Weddingand’s Gerichtstrasse and knows everyone in the area.
Just up the street is a popular nightclub that is attracting partiers from all over the city. Wedding, a working-class area largely consisting of Turkish and other immigrant communities, has been declared by many to be Berlinand’s next and”cooland” area. Rents are affordable and the district has the honest charm of a borough that has not been thoroughly gentrified, though microbreweries and hip clubs have appeared on the scene. The Ergins are aware of the neighborhoodand’s (for now) subtle transformation, though if the obsolescence of the VHS tape and the death rattle of the CD havenand’t forced them to close up shop, itand’s unlikely they have been rattled by gentrification.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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