August 9, 2017

Turkey has recently experienced a steep decline in various democracy and freedom indexes all over the world. The Freedom Research Association (FRA) – a Turkish Atlas Network partner organization based in Ankara – has taken the initiative to promote economic liberty as a means to change this trend, recently completing an Economic Freedom Audit of the country.

Economic freedom typically supports other freedoms and has proven to be essential for any country. Turkey’s decline in freedom and rule of law has been supplemented by a stagnant economic performance since the 2008 crisis, effectively leaving the country below the middle-income trap. The FRA seeks to promote economic freedom as a means to overcome the middle-income trap and support other freedoms.

In a comprehensive Economic Freedom Audit in cooperation with Atlas Network and Canadian partner the Fraser Institute, the FRA organized a one-day conference designed to move Turkey along an economic path that will ensure a bright and better future for the citizens of Turkey, with the goal of providing important information on policies that create prosperity for the public, media, and government as it moves forward with its economic reform agenda.

The event brought together senior bureaucrats and civil society leaders of the country, including a former governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and the former head of the Union of Bar Associations, to address the gravest economic reform issues in Turkey. Academics, bureaucrats, experts, business associations and labor organizations all attended to discuss the ways to elevate Turkey’s ranking in the annual Economic Freedom of the World Index, a joint publication of the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute. 

The conference included four high-powered workshops on key areas of economic policy: government; rule of law; freedom to trade; and regulation of credit, labor, and business. At the end of the event, participants came together to discuss the findings of the daylong workshops. A comprehensive policy report is being developed and will be presented to the Turkish government. Both the conference and the report provide a platform for participants to contribute their thoughts about economic reforms to the government and to the public through the media.