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Turkey: Etatism
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Role of Government in the Economy > Etatism


At its 1931 congress, the Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi -- CHP) adopted etatism, one of Atatürk's Six Arrows, as its official economic strategy. According to this program, individual enterprise was to retain a fundamental role in the economy, but active government intervention was necessary to boost the nation's welfare and the state's prosperity. The CHP also declared that etatism was an intermediate road between capitalism and socialism. In practice, etatism entailed the promotion of industrialization by means of five-year plans and the creation of public enterprises. Comprehensive protective tariffs also were introduced during the 1930s, establishing a pattern of import-substitution industrialization that would continue for many years.

After World War II, all major parties claimed to support etatism. The sharp reorientation of Turkey's economic policies after 1980 included a repudiation of much etatist doctrine, which, however, still influenced Turkish economic thinking. Inasmuch as Atatürk had declared that once Turkey had reached a satisfactory level of development certain state enterprises could be returned to private control, the post-1980s economic reforms perhaps could be considered a continuation of one aspect of the original etatist program. Moreover, the government continued to use policy tools such as SEEs and development planning that had originated during the etatist period. Nonetheless, by the mid-1990s deepening government indebtedness dictated a faster reduction of the state's economic commitments. Given Turkey's high inflation, job insecurity, and unemployment, etatism could be in vogue again, but in the mid-1990s no major opposition party was calling for the wholesale renationalization of the economy. .

Last Updated: January 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Turkey was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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