With the disclosure of 2011 foreign trade data, Turkey’s trade performance with countries going through economic crises can now be better assessed. Since economic contraction was inevitable in countries facing economic hardships, we were expecting a negative impact on Turkish exports to these countries. Most economic developments fit our expectations, except for the fact that exports from crisis countries to Turkey did not suffer. Overall, Turkey lost out to [countries facing political and economic crises in 2011] in terms of both exports and imports. Consequently, the Turkish economy was disadvantaged by the ‘crisis countries’ in 2011.
Turkey’s foreign trade deficit with the PIIGS [Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain] - the countries at the core of the European crisis - increased by a whopping 70.25 %. Turkey’s foreign trade surplus with countries affected by the Arab Spring [Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Syria] declined by 18.83 %. Turkey’s foreign trade deficit with the entire array of ‘crisis countries’ grew by a factor of 10.7, from 505 million dollars to 5,396 million dollars.
While Turkey’s exports to the PIIGS countries grew by 14.86 %, the latter upped their exports to Turkey by 32.18%. Turkey’s exports to Arab Spring countries decreased by 10.35 %, while those countries increased their exports to Turkey by 3.33%. Overall, Turkish exports grew by 18.5% and imports rose by 29.8%. In other words, the Turkish exports to PIIGS countries fell below the general [yearly] average, while imports from those countries were above average.
Turkey’s exports to Greece - the country in Europe suffering the most - increased by 6.78 %, where as Greece boosted its exports to Turkey by 66.63 %, increasing Turkey’s balance of trade deficit with Greece by a factor of 11. Turkish exports increased the most to Italy - by 20.76 % - but Italy’s exports to Turkey went up by 32.63 %, increasing Turkey’s trade deficit with Italy by 54 %. While Turkey’s exports to Portugal shrank by 4.16 %, Portugal increased its exports to Turkey by 20.43 %. The trade deficit with Portugal therefore grew by 318 %. Exports and imports were both down with the Arab Spring countries of Libya and Syria, and only in Egypt did exports and imports both increase.