The explosive rise of Turkey’s economy in the past decade is one of the most fascinating growth stories of all time. Since 2002, Turkey’s economy nearly quadrupled in size on the back of an epic boom in consumption and construction that led to the building of countless malls, skyscrapers, and ambitious infrastructure projects. Like many emerging economies in the past decade, Turkey’s economy continued to grow virtually unabated through the Global Financial Crisis, while most Western economies stagnated.
Unfortunately, like most emerging market nations, Turkey’s economic boom has devolved into a dangerous bubble that is similar to the bubbles that caused the downfall of Western economies just six years ago. Though Turkey has received significant attention after its currency and financial markets fell sharply in the past year, there is still very little awareness of the country’s economic bubble itself and its frightening implications.
The emerging markets bubble began in 2009, shortly after China pursued an aggressive credit-driven infrastructure-based growth strategy to boost its economy during the global financial crisis. China’s economic growth immediately surged as construction activity increased dramatically, which drove a global raw materials boom that created a windfall for commodities exporting countries such as Australia and emerging markets. Emerging markets’ improving fortunes began to attract the attention of global investors who were seeking to diversify away from Western nations that were at the epicenter of the financial crisis. As the bubble progressed, even developing countries that were not significant commodities exporters (such as Turkey) began to benefit from the growing interest in this investment theme.