Amid global worries over a Greek default, growing investor skittishness about emerging markets is a worrisome development for Turkey.
A comparative star in the sluggish global financial scene, Turkey in 2010 posted a Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 8.9 percent; growth this year is estimated at 5.5 percent, according to a recent expectations survey carried out by the Central Bank. By comparison, the European Union faces a projected 2011 growth rate of 1.8 percent.
Despite the sheen of economic health generated by the growth projections, Turkey is grappling with substantial economic challenges, especially unemployment. According to Turkstat, Turkey’s government statistics agency, unemployment decreased to 10.8 percent in March, down 2.9 percent from the same period in 2010. A recent report from the left-leaning Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions, however, argues that the real unemployment rate is much higher, 17.68 percent.
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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.