30/1/12

The Independent: Tiger Turkey at the crossroads

The country is one of success stories of the last decade, but is its increasingly autocratic government slowly threatening progress?



In the tea houses of Istanbul the mood is generally optimistic as customers listen to the news of the European economic crisis. "Turkey doesn't need Europe," says one tea drinker.
"Look at Greece – it was inside the European Union and they're going bankrupt." Osman, a middle-aged estate agent, adds that "when you compare Turkey today with Turkey 20 years ago, everything has got better."
Not everybody in the tea house is quite so positive. Its manager says: "I think the economy is going well for those with money. But talk to somebody on the minimum wage and see how they feel." There is some Schadenfreude over the problems facing the EU, given that it has so far rejected Turkey as a member. But one customer, looking up from his card game, says "I have just been to Germany and it is still better abroad."


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