Posted 5.25.06Meet Asim Erdilek, professor of economics.
The incredible amount of business and infrastructure growth in countries like China and India is becoming known as “the Second Industrial Revolution.” This rapid market expansion has much more than a local consequence; it is impacting global markets and even increasing steel production in Europe and the United States.
“Global and international business is very important to countries like the U.S.,” says Asim Erdilek economics professor at Weatherhead. “There are new markets emerging globally and new opportunities for foreign investment.”
Erdilek teaches international trade, finance, and business at Weatherhead and, as a native of Turkey, has spent much of his academic career studying the Turkish economy and historical attitudes toward foreign direct investment.
“Turkey is the new market. Like China and India, there is great potential in the growth in infrastructure in the country,” says Erdilek. “Turkey has been experiencing a fast rate of growth, increased demand of products and has a young population. In my opinion, it is the most important emerging market behind China.”
Turkey has long been an example of a progressive Islamic nation, an example of a secularism and modern state, but even with all the trappings of capitalism Turkey has eschewed most, if not all, foreign investment ostensibly leaving it out of the race for quick market growth.
“You have to know the Turkish culture,” explains Erdilek. “The country has a very unfortunate experience with the Ottoman Empire.”
Turkey’s long history of controlled hegemony left it, in Erdilek’s words, “very shy, very reluctant and ambivalent” about foreign business.
However, despite the country’s long history of invasion and subsequent mistrust, there has been a recent thaw in Turkey’s rigid non-foreign investment policy. The shift, according to Erdilek, is due in part to Turkey’s desire to join the European Union. With a population of 75 million and three main centralized cities, Turkey is larger than Germany.
“There has been a shift in policy,” says Erdilek. “Turkey has experienced three to four years of good economic growth with real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth and the rate of inflation is down.”
The policy change is welcomed news to Erdilek. He also sees the opening of Turkey’s markets as a possible boom for his new adopted city of Cleveland.
“Ohio has been historically dependant on heavy industry and that is what is needed in Turkey,” he says.
As Turkey’s economy moves ahead, Erdilek plans on being an integral part of the policy formation. This past November he spoke at a World Bank conference in Istanbul regarding foreign direct investments.
“It is very gratifying,” he says about being one of the only academics specializing in Turkey and direct foreign investment. “I’ve had my work recognized academically, but now it has gained the attention of CEOs and politicians. It is the coming to fruition of 30 years of work.”
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