In order to raise our new Turkey to the level that she is worthy of, we must, under all circumstances, attach the highest importance to the national economy."
When the Turkish Republic came into being in 1923, it lacked capital, industry, and know-how. Successive wars had decimated manpower, agricultural production stood at a low level, and the huge foreign debts of the defunct Ottoman state confronted the new Republic.
President Atatürk swiftly moved to initiate a dynamic program of economic development. " Our nation," he stated, " has crushed the enemy forces. But to achieve independence we must observe the following rule: National sovereignty should be supported by financial independence. The only power that will propel us to this goal is the economy. No matter how mighty they are, political and military victories cannot endure unless they are crowned by economic triumphs."
With determination and vigor, Atatürk's Turkey undertook agricultural expansion, industrial growth, and technological advancement. In mining, transportation, manufacturing, banking, exports, social services, housing, communications, energy, mechanization, and other vital areas, many strides were taken. Within the decade, the gross national product increased five-fold.
Turkey's economic development during Atatürk's Presidency was impressive in
absolute figures and in comparison to other countries. The synthesis that
evolved at that time -state enterprises and private initiative active in both
industrial and agricultural growth- serves as the basis of the economic
structure not only for Turkey but also in dozen countries.