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AKİF BEKİ

abeki@hurriyet.com.tr

AKİF BEKİ >Wealth running away from Turkey

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I have been searching for an answer to this question for years; if it is true that each government creates its own rich, where are the rich classes of this government?

I have developed a habit of tracking the new rich in the “100 richest Turks” list on Forbes magazine published each year on March.

The list has been published, yet I cannot see any trace of a new rich this year either.

But I have caught a new clue in an article from the state-run Anadolu Agency. Apparently our crème de la crème have been shifting their investments abroad.

Where are the nouveau rich of the government?

Whenever I questioned where those who made it to the list of the richest thanks to being pro-government are, I received the same result; they were nowhere to be found. Big capital was kept in the same hands. It has not changed this year either. 

Some have climbed up the list, while some have lost a bit of their income. But these changes are again among the usual suspects. There are only nine new faces.

But they are not the nouveau rich; they have been waiting in the bench of the big bosses for a long time now.

I have not come across a nouveau rich who made a jump from one class to another.

This time, I cannot phrase the same sentence that I have been using for years. I used to say, “Everything stays the same in the Forbes list.”

The big capital is not changing hands, it is changing countries. It is migrating without being spotted.

Capital fleeing abroad

If we are exporting our rich, why are there no spaces open for those coming from below?

Because those at the top are not escaping anywhere, they stay here. What is going abroad is their accounts.
No doubt the middle classes have become richer in the course of the past 15 years. 

There is a “jeep set,” but they have not yet gone on to becoming a “jet set.”

How come? The answer lies in data from the New World Wealth. In 2015, the number of Turkish millionaires leaving the country was around 1,000. In 2016, this went up to 5,000. In other words, in the course of the two years, 6,000 local millionaires migrated to other countries. Canada, Australia, the United States and New Zealand are among the most preferred countries.

It is undoubted that we are having problems in terms of fair distribution of wealth and welfare. 

But if even the “jeep set” are eyeing for a life abroad…

If anyone getting hold of some money is looking for a safe haven by requesting asylum abroad…
If our “jet set” started transferring capital abroad...

If our richness is finding peaceful ports to embark to… 

That means our problem is bigger than unfair distribution. 

This means the new rich, who are accumulating capital, are not feeling secure just like the old rich and their faith in a common future is weakening.

In the end, I understood that I have to look for the answer to the missing hole in the list lies within the hopes that are escaping each passing day.

March/06/2017

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