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Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

Although the population of the EU-27 will also keep rising until 2035, the Turkish share of the population in relation to the EU-28 will increase from 12.7% today to 15.0% in 2050.3 At a median age of 29 years4, the Turkish population is very young compared to that of the EU, where the median age is 42 years. In principle, the young population provides Turkey with a huge potential for economic growth and prosperity and spares it from the challenges related to an ageing society that many EU member states are already starting to face. Due to structural problems in the economy, however, this potential remains largely untapped. 1.2 The Turkish economy In spite of a high average annual growth rate of 4% during the past decade and an exceptionally fast recovery from its financial and economic crisis, Turkey’s economic performance today stands at only 45%5 of the EU-27 average - in other words, comparable to that of Bulgaria and Romania. If Turkey was an EU member state today, the contribution of its economy to the EU GDP in absolute terms would be marginal considering its size, at a mere 4.37%. One thing Turkey and Romania have in common is a large agricultural sector: although its share in the Turkish economy has been declining, the sector remains large in terms of employment (around 24%) while contributing only 9.3% to GDP.6 The services sector, with 50% of the total labor force, the largest employer while only 25% work in the industrial sector. Turkey has introduced a number of reforms to strengthen its service and industrial sectors and to align its policies with European standards. However, those reforms have only been partially successful as increased output has been realized either through increased productivity or, in case of increased 3. The actual share may be lower as other candidate countries besides Croatia may have joined the EU by then. However, this scenario is limited to Croatia as the negotiations have been closed. 4. Turkish statistical institute (TurkStat). 5. IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, 2011. 6. World Bank estimate for 2009, World Development Indicators.

Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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