Public Panel: Political Economy of the ‘New’ Turkey: Growth, Conflict, and Inequality, 27 October 2016, King’s College London

Professor Özlem Onaran, Professor of Economics at the University of Greenwich and the director of the Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre
Dr Cem Oyvat, Lecturer in Economics in the Department of International Business and Economics of the University of Greenwich.

Chair: Dr Veli Yadırgı, Teaching Fellow in the Department of Development Studies in SOAS and a Member of the London Middle East Institute.

Location: King’s Building, Room K3.11, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS

Date: Thursday, 27 October 2016

Time: 18.30

PLEASE NOTE: The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Please follow this link for registration:

We are pleased to announce Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey)’s public seminar titled “Political Economy of ‘New’ Turkey: Growth, Conflict, and Inequality” to be delivered by Professor Özlem Onaran and Dr Cem Oyvat, both of whom are based in the University of Greenwich. This event will take place on Thursday, 27 October 2016 between 18.30 and 20.00 at King’s Building, Room K3.11, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS. This lecture will be kindly chaired by Dr Veli Yadırgı who is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Development Studies in SOAS.

Turkey’s economic growth since the turn of the millennium has attracted a great deal of academic attention. Before the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, many were congratulating the Justice and Development Party for its ‘sound’ monetary and fiscal policies which they thought solved the structural problems that lead to the economic and political crisis in 2001. However, in 2009 Turkey saw its economy shrink by 4.7%, being one of worst hit countries by the Great Recession. Although statistics indicate a speedy recovery after 2009, Turkey’s economy is still ridden with contradictions that are rooted in its political and economic structures.

Professor Onaran will show how “the structural changes in the economy and the policies of ruling government of the last decade has initiated a redistribution towards the poorest of the society” and “the source of this redistribution was income scrapped from the organized blue collar and white-collar/professional working people rather than taxes on corporate profits and the rich.” In Professor Onaran’s view, Turkey’s growth model has always been dependent on cheap labour before the 2008 Crisis, and overreliance on “speculative financial capital inflows, a construction boom and a high trade deficit” means that Turkey would have “experienced a crisis sooner or later even without the Great Recession”.

Dr Oyvat, on the other hand, will analyse “the structural factors that restricted the educational development in Southeastern Turkey.” Dr Oyvat will argue that contrary to the conventional wisdom, “the economic and political power of ağas in the region does not block education investments” and that “the armed conflict in the region did not directly hinder the education investments.” He will also argue that “the conflict reduced school enrollment ratios at middle and high school levels” while increasing it at the primary school level at the same time.

For further analysis of the Turkish political economy, you can refer to the first issue of our journal Research and Policy on Turkey. The first issue can be accessed via the following link;

Özlem Onaran is Professor of Economics at the University of Greenwich and the director of the Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre. She has done extensive research on issues of inequality, wage-led growth, employment, globalization, gender, and crises. She has directed research projects for the UN International Labour Organisation, UNCTAD, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Foundation of European Progressive Studies, the Vienna Chamber of Labour, the Austrian Science Foundation, and Unions21. She is member of the Scientific Committee of the Foundation of European Progressive Studies, Scientific Advisory Board of Hans Boeckler Foundation, and the Policy Advisory Group of the Women’s Budget Group, member of the Coordinating Committee of the Research Network Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies, and a research associate at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has more than eighty articles in books and leading peer reviewed journals such as Cambridge Journal of Economics, World Development, Environment and Planning A, Public Choice, Economic Inquiry, European Journal of Industrial Relations, International Review of Applied Economics, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Eastern European Economics, and Review of Political Economy.

Cem Oyvat is a lecturer at the University of Greenwich in the Department of International Business and Economics. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in 2014 with a dissertation titled “Essays on the Evolution of Inequality”. His dissertation examines the impact of agrarian structures on income inequality over the long run and also the validity of the Kuznets hypothesis. His research interests include income distribution in the developing world, agrarian structures and land inequality, urbanization, informal sector, gender economics, wage-led growth and the effects of globalization on growth and distribution. He has published articles in World Development, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, and Structural Change and Economic Dynamics. He also taught courses at Boğaziçi University as a visiting lecturer.

Veli Yadırgı is a Research Associate and a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Development Studies in SOAS and a Member of the London Middle East Institute. In 2015, he received his PhD in Development Studies at SOAS on the political economy of the Kurdish question in Turkey. The central objective of his doctoral thesis, which will be published by Cambridge University Press in March 2017, was to analyse systematically the linkages between socio-economic development in the predominantly Kurdish provinces in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia and Turkey’s Kurdish question. His expertise and research interests include: Political, Economic and Social History of Turkey and the Middle East with special reference to the Kurdish Question in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria; Politics and Development Economics of the Countries of the Middle East; Social Change and Social Theory. His forthcoming publications include the following: The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey: From the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming, 2017); ‘The Political Economy of the Kurdish Question in Turkey: De-development in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia’ in Routledge Handbook of Kurdish Studies ed. Michael M. Gunter (Forthcoming, 2017).



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