Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece and former Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyannis gave a lecture at Sabancı University FASS on Friday, November 16.
Invited by Akbank CEO and Managing Director Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, Bakoyannis lectured on "The International Crisis as an Opportunity."
"The crisis in Europe is structural and contagious"
Dora Bakoyannis discussed the consequences of the failure to turn crisis into opportunity in the aftermath of the 2008 downfall, and the impact of the slowing of the growth rate in Europe and China on the global economy. Bakoyannis mentioned that the US still struggled with its internal debt and that Europe was in the epicenter of the worst and most widespread crisis in its history. She said that the European crisis emanated from the debt crisis in Greece and that the situation was structural and contagious, as evidenced by the repercussions in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, the European south, as well as Ireland, Slovenia and Belgium. Speaking on the psychological impact of the crisis on the European Union, Dora Bakoyannis mentioned the friction and tension between the north and the south.
"Turkey must be very cautious"
Placing Europe at the epicenter of the global economic crisis, Bakoyannis added that there were some hopeful signals: "We are also receiving positive signals. The BRIC and Turkish cases are promising examples; however, the current dynamics of the situation is not all roses, being fragile at its core." Dora Bakoyannis said that the BRIC countries also suffered from the global crisis and reminded the words of caution by Kemal Derviş for Turkey, not to follow in the footsteps of other countries with very large debts.
Bakoyannis emphasized the importance of Europe as the balancer of the global economic system to confront the debt crisis. She continued, "We need to cast a new role to China with its steady growth, a role that will place this nation as a counterbalance to the global economy under new economic principles. The achievements that made the Turkish and BRIC economies sustainable have great weight in achieving balance across the global economy."
Bakoyannis on Turkish-Greek relations
Bakoyannis said that Greece was in full support of Turkey's accession to the EU. Arguing against the perception of the EU as a "Christian Club," Bakoyannis said, "EU is a club founded on values, and this makes it different from other unions." She continued that the dynamic social structure and strong economy in Turkey were assets for the European Union.
"Greece needs more investment and jobs"
On the recommendations of the international financial institutions and the impact of the Greek crisis on everyday life, Bakoyannis expressed her dismay that the young generation was emigrating due to employment. She said that the income level could not be reduced any further and that the country needed more investment and jobs.
Dora Bakoyannis concluded by saying, "The global crisis is far from over. There are very few signals that could help to transform the crisis into opportunity. The crisis is becoming exaggerated due to the debt crisis in Europe, expanding to the United States, China and the rest of the world. BRIC countries and some other nations have so far considered the crisis fictitious. Turkey must be very cautious to avoid the global downfall."