Organised by the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), Business and Economics Faculty, Department of Economics in collaboration with EMU Economic Research Center, a panel titled “Alternative Macroeconomic Policy Directions for North Cyprus” took place at EMU Rector’s Building, Senate Room. EMU Business and Economics Faculty, Department of Economics Chair Prof. Dr. Mehmet Balcılar, EMU Academic Staff Member and TRNC Central Bank, Executive Board Member Prof. Dr. Mustafa Besim, Bilkent University, Department of Economics and International Economics Center Director Prof. Dr. Subidey Togan, İstanbul Commerce University Academic Staff Member and Industrial Policies and Development Center Prof. Dr. Murat Yülek, academicians, business executives and experts participated in the panel.
“Our Department within the Top 4”
In his opening address, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Balcılar thanked all those in participation for their interest and expressed his hope that the panel sheds light on the formation of the economic policies during the pre-election period. Highlighting the direct effect of the economic standing during the process of peace negotiations, Prof. Dr. Balcılar advised that our side should go to the negotiation table with a stronger and more sustainable economic structure. Touching upon the large number of delayed problems of the TRNC economy, Prof. Dr. Balcılar recommended that we should be in a position to solve our problems on our own. Prof. Dr. Balcılar also stated that EMU Department of Economics ranks fourth amongst the universities in the TRNC and Turkey in METU’s 2016-2017 University Rankings by Academic Performance. Then Prof. Dr. Balcılar presented the biographies of the panel participants.
“TRNC’s Unsteady Growth”
In his presentation titled “General Economic Situation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, EMU Academic Staff Member and TRNC Central Bank, Executive Board Member Prof. Dr. Mustafa Besim stated that unsteady growth negatively affects different sectors. Prof. Dr. Besim also added that our economic structure heavily relies on the service sector. Construction and industrial sectors are among the sectors with steady growth.
Taking the listeners’ attention to the 20% unemployment rate among the young population, Prof. Dr. Besim also put forth that during the post 2009 period, the minimum wage decreased in terms of foreign currency. Prof. Dr. Besim also added that we are a country surviving with Turkey’s financial support but our level of dependency to Turkey has gone down to 17% from 29%. Finally Besim added that living in the TRNC is more expensive than Turkey and the personal income is not increasing, accordingly.
“Why Wouldn’t We Become Like Singapore?”
Bilkent University, Department of Economics and International Economics Center Director Prof. Dr. Subidey Togan’s presentation titled “Alternative Economic Policies for Northern Cyprus: Singapore Model” touched upon the fact that Cyprus is a small island like Singapore, a country with the highest income per person worldwide. Prof. Dr. Togan added that Singapore has attained this through “educational reforms”, “legal reforms” and “structural reforms in institutional forms”. Prof. Dr. Togan added that the same practices could be applied in the TRNC. Prof. Dr. Togan also highlighed the importance of “transparency” in terms of ensuring competition. Following Prof. Dr. Togan, Prof. Dr. Murat Yülek provided information on Hong Kong’s economic development and past policies. Prof. Dr. Murat Yülek also touched upon the macroeconomic policy alternatives for the TRNC and provided his recommendations for possible solutions.