We celebrated the centenary of the founding of our Republic with enthusiasm. Hundreds of articles were published in the press, examining every aspect of our hundred years of social life. In this article, we will try to touch upon the general course of our economy by listing the developments over the last century.
Since the establishment of our Republic, our country has never guided its economy with an ideological obsession. Administrations have been pragmatic on this issue and tried to make progress with whatever they found.
In 1923, Türkiye was an agricultural country. Agriculture was not yet mechanized. Attempts were made to harvest crops from the fields plowed with black plows pulled by oxen. The country's population was approximately 12 million and 77% of the population lived in rural areas. According to calculations, Turkey's Gross National Product that year was 8.5 billion dollars and per capita income was 712 dollars. 50 million dollars of exports and 87 million dollars of imports were made. Due to years of wars, the female population exceeded the male population. There were no industrial establishments in Istanbul except for two workshops defined as the "Fez Factory" and the "Shoe Factory". The literacy rate was around 7%.
While the Republic administration gained its independence with the Treaty of Lausanne, it also undertook to pay the Ottoman Capitulation debts. For this reason, the "closed import substitution model" was adopted in the economy. Imports would be minimized and domestic products would be consumed.
Since the War of Independence was fought against the western world and these countries were in the position of capitulation creditors, the administration of the time turned towards the Soviet Union. The Soviet Administration, which also provided arms and ammunition support during the War of Independence, also supported Turkey in industrialization. The first electricity, fabric, sugar, cement, tile, bottle-glass, paper, cigarette, iron-steel and cartridge factories were established during this period. The Soviet administration not only sells factories under favorable conditions; He was also transferring know-how with the engineers he sent. All of these factories were publicly financed and operated by State Economic Enterprises (SOEs). The mentioned SOEs, with the engineers and craftsmen they trained, also constituted the trained manpower source of the private sector factories that started to be opened after 1950.