The Impact of Globalization on the Poor in Turkey

Topics: Agriculture, Poverty, Agricultural economics Pages: 14 (4214 words) Published: January 24, 2013

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Bulent GULCUBUK
Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture Dept. of Agricultural Economics Diskapi/ANKARA/TURKEY


Globalization has multi-facet impacts on the live of people. Turkey has faced the reality of globalization for many years but its adverse effect has been severely felt especially after the 1980s. Turkey, as other developing countries, has entered under the political realm of influential international organizations and has been negatively affected by this process. Globalization process has impacted agricultural sector more than any other sector. Turkey is no exception in this regard. 35% of total population lives in rural areas and 30% of the labor force is employed in agriculture. Despite its significance in employment, agriculture contributes only 10% to the gross national product. Especially in the 1990s liberalization policy being implemented has resulted in structural changes in the agricultural sector of Turkey. Millions of people have been adversely affected by globalization in general and by privatization and free-market economic policy in particular. Agricultural policy being orchestrated by international policy formation agencies has affected 90% of small agricultural businesses and 35 % of landless rural population and this policy has furthermore caused unemployment, poverty and migration from the rural to urban areas working as unregistered workers. In fact, during the year of 1991-2001 about one million agricultural enterprises has been shut down and there is no data about what these people are doing.

As a result of globalization policy being imposed, legal regulations regarding the limited production of tobacco, sugar, hazelnut and tea has affected about two million rural families and millions of agricultural workers directly or indirectly. Such development has increased poverty and 36% of people are making a living under the poverty line.

In Turkey the World-Bank financed Social Risk Mitigation Project (SRMP) has been implemented after the 2001 crisis. SRMP was put in force in order to mitigate the adverse effect of globalization and economic crisis on poor. The purpose of this paper is first of all to examine the effect of globalization on Turkish agriculture and on increasing poverty. This has followed by introduction of SRMP. Within this context, the last component of SRMP, income and employment generation, will be examined and discussed based on the results of field research.


Turkey has been confronting globalization for a long time. The reflections of globalization on Turkey have been increasing since the 2nd World War, and accelerated especially in 1980s. As a result of this, the policies of international organizations such as EU, IMF, UN, WB, GATT, WTO and OECD influence Turkey. One of the primary sectors, which are effected by the globalization policies in developing countries such as Turkey, is agricultural sector. For this purpose, a brief analysis of the relationship between globalization and agriculture in Turkey is made in this paper. The agricultural sector in Turkey face significant problems caused by the agricultural policies followed in parallel to globalization. The adjustment policies are not able to provide a full structural transformation in agriculture in terms of national interests. Instead, they cause a number of socio-economic problems. This failure results in difficulties faced by millions of people who work in agricultural sector. The agricultural policies have become an application area structured by international choices instead of giving priority to national interests.

Agriculture has a specific place in all national economies regardless of their level of development. It is still the major sector in Turkey...
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