OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Turkey 2002

Crucial Support for Economic Recovery

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Among the OECD countries, Turkey figures as a comparative latecomer to regulatory reform. Yet, there is a crucial need for it. Over the last three decades, the Turkish economy has suffered from macro-economic instability and chronic inflation, with implications for both investment and growth. Governance and regulatory structures remained weak and contributed also to the 2001 economic crisis.

Nonetheless, this review notes the highly encouraging efforts currently being undertaken to reform key economic sectors, the public administration and the regulatory framework. These developments appear to mark a fundamental break with the past. Important elements, such as a clear competition policy, are already in place. Fighting corruption, among other measures, is high on the policy agenda, and constitutional amendments are reshaping the relationship between citizens and the state. The "depoliticisation" of the public sector and its renewal on a merit basis is underway. Future success will depend crucially on the continuing implementation of the programme. In particular, sustained political commitment is required well beyond the recovery from the recent crisis.

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Competition Policy

Competition policy institutions are in place and active, but competition policy is not yet fully integrated into the general policy framework for regulation. Many features of state-led development remain. Reforms have been announced, but implementation is slowed by crisis. The lack of public awareness about competition policy and the new institutions is indicative of the uncertain status of competition in Turkish public policy and debate. Turkey’s conception of competition policy supports a broad program of pro-competitive reform. The competition laws and enforcement structures, the Competition Authority and its decision-making Competition Board, are well-considered and supported by adequate resources. But the institutions have not yet had to weather a serious political storm. The Competition Board’s ambition, to be at the centre of a broad reform programme, does not quite match its present circumstances, but it is not necessarily unrealistic in the long run....

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