The other side of Turkey's economic boom...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I saw a semi-interesting Reuters story a couple of days ago (Facebook Borderlanders may have already seen it) about the apparently growing wealth gap in Turkey. 

Much of the article is made up of rather empty fluff about a couple of individuals the journalist happens to talk to, but there were some statistics thrown out which surprised me a bit. This is what the Reuters piece sez:
The gulf between Turkey's rich and poor regions is vast, with its western provinces, Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines enjoying a per capita income more than twice that of the interior and the east.
The ruling AK Party, poised to win a third term in an election on June 12, has presided over an unprecedented period of economic prosperity for Turkey. Per capita income rose from $3,492 (2,124 pounds) in 2002, the year it took power, to $10,079 in 2010.
But according to a 2008 study Turkey's rich-poor divide is the highest among OECD countries after Mexico, and looks likely to remain so.
Latest Turkish data from 2009 showed income inequality rose that year and that the richest 20 percent of the population had a household income 8.5 times higher than the bottom 20 percent, up from 8.1 times in 2007.
I'll be honest, I should know a lot more about the Turkish economy than I do. But one thing I do know is that, since so much of the Turkish economy is under the table, economic statistics like this should probably be taken with a very large grain of salt.

 This appears to be the report from which the article's data (and the graph above) were taken. As you can see, the statistics are from 2005, so I'm not quite sure why this information is being trotted out now. 
In any case, this is a different story from what I'm used to hearing re the Turkish economy under the AKP, so I thought I'd put it up despite the odd timing.  
People who know the economy better than I do: any thoughts about this? 
[Update: Kamil Pasha has some good posts about this topic here and here.]

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