Mankind has tried to facilitate and bring well-being and happiness into his
life throughout the ages. In spite of the fact that the scope and framework
of these efforts have been modified through time, human beings are still trying
to facilitate and bring well-being and happiness into their lives (Kant,
At the very beginning of her/his existence, mankind was far from community
life and his aim was to feed and safeguard himself against hazards. The criteria
for well-being were restricted to these goals. As time went on, mankind socialized
for the first time in history by establishing a family, which is the smallest
social and economic unit. Human beings passing from a stage of individual well-being
to a stage of searching for well-being and happiness in a family unit, subsequently
sought happiness and well-being in a new stage which provided a special legal
and institutional structure as he settled down. This institutional structure
can be identified as a state or country (Hutchison, 2003).
There are many countries of various sizes in the world. Along with their political
and social problems, these countries also have economic problems. Although they
are independent and are subject to the same legal procedures in international
relations, they are classified as developing or developed countries in terms
of their economy. Besides these two classifications, there is another category
called underdeveloped referring to countries defined as third world countries
The criteria commonly used to categorize a country as developed or underdeveloped
are national income, growth rate, import and export rates, inflation rate and
balance of payments (Bauer, 1981). Once these indicators
are evaluated on a sound basis, they constitute significant values and can reflect
the position of countries in the global arena. In this sense, classification
of countries as developed or underdeveloped is of great importance (Strauss,
Apart from the macroeconomic indicators mentioned above, indicators regarding
the social, political, cultural and demographic features of countries can demonstrate
their developmental stage. Through the analysis of population-related indicators,
various deductions can be gleaned. Factors such as whether the population lives
in a rural or urban area and the distribution of areas in which individuals
earn their living may help identify these countries as developed or underdeveloped.
For instance, while in developed countries the ratio of people earning their
livelihood from agriculture is 10% or less, this ratio may rise to 80% in underdeveloped
countries (Raghbendra, 1994). A surplus in the agricultural
workforce, a fall in agricultural efficiency, a rapidly growing population and
inadequate capital are the striking features of developed countries (Preston,
Developed countries owe their development to their pioneering role in industry
and technology (Chen, 1994). The development of an underdeveloped
country means a transition from a structure that is based on agriculture and
natural resources to a structure that is based on industry and services (Timmer,
On the one hand; underdeveloped countries provide industrial development with
planned development; on the other hand, they have to find solutions to the problems
facing rural populations which make up a dominant constituency within the population.
There is another issue that imposes distinct significance and value in the development
efforts of underdeveloped countries and is referred to as rural development
(Dixon, 1990). Since the majority of the population lives
in rural areas in such countries, rural development plays a significant role
in development policies and strategies (Galli, 1981).
In relation with the development of the country, rural development is the common
term used to refer to the development efforts of individuals in rural areas
to attain an improvement of living standards (Sing, 1999).
The main objective of rural development is to harness all of the available
and accessible resources within the rural area effectively and efficiently to
ensure the well-being and happiness of the people living in that particular
area (Chambers, 1983). Ensuring the social and cultural
development of rural societies, resolving problems such as nutrition and health,
improving infrastructural elements (highways, water and electricity), increasing
agricultural productivity and protecting the environmental equilibrium are of
paramount importance in rural development operations (Oakley
and Garforth, 1985).
With regard to the points mentioned above, Turkey has placed an emphasis on
rural development within the framework of developmental processes that are observed
in other developing countries and has taken fundamental steps towards the resolution
of infrastructure problems in rural areas, such as roads, water, electricity,
communication and schools. In spite of these positive developments, significant
problems regarding rural development that have yet to be resolved, are still
on the agenda (The State Planning Organization, 2007a).
The current structural state of the country demonstrates that the dimension
and the framework of the operations in rural areas have changed. The integration
of rural areas into the countrys economy has been achieved to some extent by
an ongoing resolution of such glaring problems as highways, water, electricity,
transport and communication ever since the 1960s. However, going forward, it
is necessary to define which issues should be on the agenda and in which areas
operations should continue. In short, rural development policies should be revised
(The State Planning Organization, 2007b).
As the world enters a new millennium, new communication tools such as the internet,
mobile phones and satellite televisions have been invented and these inventions
have been used to a large extent by developed countries. Our time is the age
of communication. Both the dimension and speed of communication have increased.
This situation has removed borders between countries and human beings have become
acquainted with a new concept called globalization (Heiduk
et al., 2003).
Globalization can be defined as the integration of economic, cultural, political,
religious and social systems that is capable of reaching the whole world and
practically all human beings (Steger, 2003). Ouattara
(1997) further elaborated on globalization in terms of economics and defines
it as the integration of economies within the world through trade, financial
trends, technological exchange as well as mobility of information and workforce
(Aktan and Sen, 1999).
Through the course of globalization, developing countries have increased their
economic and commercial contacts with Japan, the USA and developed European
countries. These contacts have accelerated the integration of developing countries
into the global system in terms of trade, finance and production. Integration
of developing countries into the global economy is a contributing factor to
a rise in the level of well-being both in developed and in developing countries
On the one hand, globalization provides wider commercial markets and greater
capital input while, on the other hand, it helps broaden the diversity of imported
and exported products and helps expand the adoption of technological developments.
Furthermore, globalization decreases transportation and communication costs
and paves the way for division of labor and specialized manufacturing (Mishra
and Topalova, 2007).
Through the globalization of manufacturing, an industrial society yields its
place to an information society in developed countries. Therefore, the importance
of the manufacturing sector lessens in the course of globalization and the importance
of such sectors such banking, insurance, business and financing increases. Transition
from an industrial society to an information society in developed countries
is not a failure of the manufacturing sector, but a natural consequence of the
economic development process. The gap emerging in the manufacturing sector is
filled by developing countries. As a result, both country categories benefit
from the change brought on by the globalization process (Cooke,
Globalization has impacted rural areas and rural communities in underdeveloped
countries which have dual structures (Richardson, 1997).
Researchers who have been studying underdeveloped countries and rural development
have noted that, 20-25 years ago, such preconceptions as the following were
commonplace: (1) Rural areas of underdeveloped countries are closed economies
which have a functioning mechanism peculiar to them, (2) The exchange mechanism
which binds production and consumption markets in rural areas has not improved
sufficiently and (3) Communication and transportation tools are inadequate (Singer,
1989). These preconceptions should be examined in order to determine whether
they still exist today. Moreover, the impact of technological advances and innovations,
together with globalization, on rural communities should also be investigated.
This study was undertaken with the objective of making a contribution to the
exploration of answers to these questions.
This study analyzes the impact of globalization in rural areas. Settlement
areas of rural communities in Turkey can be classified as upland and lowland
villages. This distinction is not drawn in terms of altitude levels, but in
terms of the type of terrain upon which the settlement unit is established.
It is argued that globalization has divergent effects on these settlement units
(Tolunay et al., 2008). Therefore, in order to
test this argument, one upland and one lowland village were selected as subjects
for the study and the effects of globalization were analyzed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The Rapid Rural Appraisal Technique (RRA) was used in the study (Nichols,
1991; Pratt and Loizos, 1992). RRA is cost-effective
and a less time consuming means to investigate rural resource management systems
(Grandstaff, 1984). This kind of research involves casual
conservations with villagers held by an interdisciplinary team of researchers.
Therefore, it provides opportunities for more interaction between the informants
and researchers, enhancing better learning and conceptualization. RRA is a study
tool that serves as a starting point for understanding a local situation; it
is utilized by a multi-disciplinary team and the process lasts at least four
days, but no more than three weeks. It is based on observations and interviews
and operates under the assumption that not all relevant questions can be identified
in advance (Beebe, 1987). It is a process of learning
about rural conditions in an intensive, interactive and rapid manner. There
are two types of RRA: 1) Research objective-based (General RRA and Topical RRA),
2) Unit of analysis-based (Village system RRA and Household system RRA). Research
objective-based RRA was implemented in this study. Through the use of general
RRA, general features, socio-economic conditions, agriculture and land use patterns
of villages were investigated (Conway, 1985). Then the
impact of globalization on rural communities, the main focus of this study,
was analyzed by using topical RRA. The RRA technique involves: (1) Interviews,
(2) Direct observations and (3) Secondary data analysis.
Interviews: Respondents included village headmen (muhtars), imams,
village elders and a group of villagers comprised of 20 farmers from each
village. Household members were interviewed at their home units. A semi-structured
interviewing technique was used. Seven interview aides such as: Who, When,
What, Where, Why, How and If were also utilized. For individual interviews,
households were selected by the team based on economic, sex and occupation
Direct observation: During the fieldwork, the RRA team directly
observed the general conditions of the areas, cropping patterns and residences.
The team also observed the present status of the forest and agricultural
Secondary data analysis: Secondary data such as topographic maps,
district and province maps, rainfall and temperature were analyzed.
Timeline of the study: The study timeline was divided into two
segments: first phase and second phase. The first phase started on October
20, 2007 and ended on October 26, 2007. During the first phase, the study
team collected data about general conditions of the village, socio-economic
conditions, agriculture and land use pattern. The second phase lasted
from November 17, 2007 to November 20, 2007. During the second phase,
the team collected necessary/missing data and conducted interviews with
Site and sample selection: Department of Forestry Economics of
the Faculty of Forestry at Süleyman Demirel University has been carrying
out buffer zone forest management research studies in preserved
areas of the Western Mediterranean region. Kovada Lake National Park is
one of the areas where such studies are conducted. Serpil and Akbelenli
Villages are located within the borders of this National Park. While residents
of Serpil are extroverted and have a positive outlook on their future,
residents of Akbelenli are unsociable and pessimistic. The reasons underlying
these two opposing realities need to be investigated. The selection of
sample villages was based on this criterion.
Outcomes of the study: Serpil and Akbelenli are two villages in
Eğirdir District of Isparta Province, in Turkeys West Mediterranean
region (Fig. 1). The distance between these two villages
is 16 kilometers. There is an altitudinal difference of 300 m between
two villages. Quantitative data pertaining to the villages are shown in
Serpil as sample of a lowland village: Serpil Village is located
at 20 km to Eğirdir District and 55 km to Isparta Province. The total
area of the village is about 4,589 decares including the residences, farmlands
and surrounding state forests. It is situated at 850 m above sea level,
with a very gentle slope and smooth topography.
Serpil Village was established at least four hundred years ago. The first
settlement in Serpil arrived in 1530. The first settlers of the village
were nomadic and led a nomadic lives; however, subsequently they adopted
a settled way of life.
The total population of village is 605: 301 males and 304 females. The
total number of households is 160. The average number of persons per household
is 4. There is no emigration from Serpil village. On the contrary, people
immigrate from other villages to Serpil Village due to harsh living conditions
in their home villages. As indicated in Table 2, the
village population shows a steady increase.
The houses in the village are two-story, reinforced concrete structures. The
first floor is used as warehouse. The toilet, kitchen and bathroom are located
within the house. Villagers use refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers
in their daily lives. Every household in the village has a radio and television.
|| Some quantitative facts regarding the villages of Serpil
|Collected data from the villages
|| Location of the study area in Turkey
|| Basic rural structure possibilities of Serpil and Akbelenli
|Collected data from the villages
The villagers buy newspapers everyday. The radios and televisions are used for
keeping current with daily news and cultural activities of the country. Each
household has a land-line telephone. Most of the villagers have mobile phones.
Some households own a personal computer. A few villagers have internet connection.
Everyone in Serpil Village is literate. There is an elementary school
served by 6 teachers. The number of students receiving formal education
is 70. There are 25 secondary- or higher-level students in the village.
The village has a health center where a doctor along with a midwife treats
the medical problems of the villagers.
There is only one store in the village. The villagers meet their shopping
needs at that store. There is a weekly market in the village. Basic infrastructure
facilities of the two villages are shown in Table 3.
The main sources of water are spring, river and ground waters. The villagers
use water from different sources for different purposes: for instance,
they use spring and ground water for fresh water. There is a water depot
and water network in the village. Each household is subscribed for water
services. The Kovada Channel, which is used for agricultural irrigation,
flows by the village. Drip-irrigation method is used in the irrigation
of agricultural areas.
Serpil Village has a total surface area of 4,589 decares. Of this area,
approximately 3,205 decares are agricultural lands while 250 decares are
residential and 1,134 decares are forest areas. The forests surrounding
the village are state-owned and are managed by the State Forestry Directorate
in Eğirdir District. Since the economic condition of the villagers
is fairly good, they do not pose any harmful impact on forest resources.
Agriculture is the main source of income in Serpil Village. The principal
agricultural crops are fruit products. Apples (2,800 decares), cherries
(250 decares), peaches (100 decares) and plums (50 decares) are cultivated
in the agricultural lands of the village.
There are two cooperatives in the village, namely the Agricultural Development
Cooperative and the Cooperative for Fruit Sapling Production. The Agricultural
Development Cooperative was founded to improve agricultural activities
and to ensure the commitment of necessary investments. The Cooperative
for Fruit Sapling Production markets the saplings that are produced. Both
cooperatives sell their goods and products in domestic and foreign markets.
They carefully plan and execute the marketing of their products. They
preserve harvested crops in cold air reservoirs. Four cold air reservoirs
have been constructed for this purpose. The products preserved in these
facilities are introduced to the marketplace every season.
A few of the villagers in Serpil raise sheep, goat and cattle. Chicken
is a common commodity in the village. Sheep, goats and cattle are raised
for commercial purposes. Chickens are raised for household consumption
only. Although the village is close to Lake Eğirdir, there is no
commercial fishing; however, there are some individuals fishing for sport
or for their own personal benefit. Each house in Serpil Village has a
garden. The size of such gardens varies from 0.5 to 1 decare. The villagers
grow vegetables and various flowers in their gardens. The products from
gardens are used for solely for household consumption.
The village derives its revenues from the sale of agricultural products,
off-farm income and labor income obtained from the works performed both
within and outside of the village. With regard to the scope of this study,
annual net in-village income was estimated to be US $5,808,000. It was
also estimated that net income per household was US $36,300 and net income
per capita was US $9,600. Considering that the national income per capita
is US $9,333 in Turkey, it becomes evident that the village commands economic
In spite of favorable living conditions, the villagers encounter various
problems in their everyday lives. These are as follows:
||Agricultural areas are cultivated on a perpetual basis;
in other words, there is intense cultivation, which leads to a decrease
in soil fertility
||Use of chemicals and fertilizers disturbs the natural equilibrium
||Consumption habits of the villagers have changed. The amount of
non-recyclable materials has increased due to domestic and agricultural
waste. Failure to collect garbage has caused significant environmental
Impact of globalization on Serpil village: Serpil Village is an
allocation unit where resources are used effectively, productively and
sustainably. The villagers are willing and eager to live on this geographical
terrain. There is no significant difference between the lifestyles of
the villagers and those of city-dwellers. The facilities that are available
to city-dwellers are also available in Serpil Village. The villagers enjoy
modern communication tools effectively, too. Mobile phones are used not
only for communication purposes, but also for determining the borders
and coordinates of the land. Thanks to internet connection, villagers
have access to the worldwide market to sell their products. In addition,
they can obtain information about the latest technological developments
regarding agricultural production.
Personal computers and internet connections in homes facilitate access
to information resources and diversify them. Interestingly, older people,
who might not even have dreamed of such communication technologies 15
years ago, have adapted themselves to use these new communication tools.
Villagers are well aware of the economy and daily political events. While,
in the past, money was deposited in a bank earning interest in, investment
tools have diversified today. Investments are made by purchasing shares
on the stock market. Consequently, movements and conditions of global
stock markets are closely followed. At the same time, people have begun
to use credit cards, which were not favored in the past.
It would not be wrong to state that Serpil Village has been affected
by globalization in a positive direction even though it is a village in
a rural part of the country. However; globalization has unfavorable effects
that lead to changes in the Turkish lifestyle. These effects are generally
observed among the young population because the nutritional and consumption
habits of the young have been changing. Particularly, they have begun
to consume fast-food. Thus, there is possibility that future societies
will be composed of obese people. The same effects can be observed in
the clothing styles of the young as well. They are influenced by the youth
style of the world.
The villagers used to have a life style based on the close household
economy model. However; the promotion of consumption by various advertisement
tools has brought the consumption of local food to a standstill. There
have been changes in the nutritional habits of villagers. The conventional
way of life in the village has changed as well. For instance, while marriage
ceremonies took place according to the local customs in the past, couples
prefer getting married in wedding halls today.
Whats more, foreign words and concepts have penetrated into the everyday
language of the common folk due to the fact that communication facilities
are not bound only to domestic use. Instead of the Turkish idioms and
phrases used in greeting and addressing people, foreign words and phrases
have begun to be uttered.
Despite the negative impact of globalization, the villagers of Serpil
Village lead happy lives in economic terms.
A sample of Akbelenli as an upland village: Akbelenli is located
approximately 35 km from Eğirdir District and 70 km from Isparta
Province. The villagers settled in the village towards the end of the
1700s. The first inhabitants of the village came from Central Anatolia.
These first settlers came to this region to find pastures. Two hundred
and fifty years ago, the village area was covered with forests. However,
due to the influx of settlers and rapid destruction of forests through
a shift to agriculture, only few scattered natural trees have survived
The village has a hilly topographic characteristic. It is the only steeply
located village of Eğirdir District. Most of the area is on an undulating
terrain. The altitude varies between 900 and 1,150 m. The average altitude
is 1,025 m a.m.s.l. There are clusters at Akbelenli Village. The total
number of households is 39 and the village has a total population of 119.
The average number of persons per household is 3. There were 90 households
in the village 30 years ago, but this number has decreased to 39 today.
Most of the houses abandoned by villagers that have emigrated elsewhere
are generally in ruins and the remaining undamaged houses are not used
by people for accommodation purposes. The village population is steadily
falling. The number of inhabitants, which was 521 in 1980, is 119 today.
Most of the houses are made of bricks. Sun-dried bricks are used in some
of the older houses. Almost all households have modern toilets. The village
has electricity. Each household has a landline telephone. Radio and television
are available in all households.
The elementary school in the village is closed due to an insufficient
number of students. 15 school-age children are transported to nearby schools.
There is no public health clinic in Akbelenli Village. If anybody is severely
sick, they are taken to the health clinic closest to the village or to
the district hospital (in Eğirdir District) for proper care. Villagers
also use local medicinal plants for treatment purposes.
The major sources of water in this village are spring and ground waters.
Akbelenli Village satisfies its drinking water need from 3 fountains and
a well. Drinking water is limy. Agricultural lands lack adequate water
and there are no irrigation facilities. The climate change experienced
in the last years has affected water resources and dramatic water shortages
have been observed. Furthermore, some fountains have dried up by 2007.
The total surface area of the village is 2,568 decares of which 110 decares
are used for housing, 1,400 decares for farming and 1,058 decares are
composed of forests. Agricultural lands constitute the biggest surface
area and agriculture is the main source of income. Grain is the major
Most of the households have livestock such as cows, domestic goats and
sheep. Chickens are found in almost all households. Cows are raised for
generating income from milk and dairy products. The village has no communal
grassland and livestock are grazed on fallow lands and stall animals are
fed by cut grass.
Cultivated lands are controlled by the villagers who prepare the soil
for the growth of agricultural products. But most of the land used for
agricultural purposes is not suitable for agriculture. When the top soil
is eroded, villagers choose another area for agricultural purposes. This
is a vicious cycle that creates poor rural conditions. Therefore, the
income level of the villagers drops, further deepening their woes. About
60 % of the villagers work as hired laborers outside the village because
they have small farms or only homesteads. Although they have their own
farms, some farmers also work as laborers on other farms for extra income.
The average labor wage in Akbelenli Village is US $10 person/day. Most
young adults (16-30 old years) who have no or little income have, in search
of jobs, moved to urban areas where wages are double the village rate.
For daily survival, the villagers have to use whatever resources they
have in the village. Consequently, as resources decrease each year, some
family members move to big cities. Therefore, every household receives
income from at least one child working outside the village. Nevertheless,
there are still some people living in the village and working on their
The villagers reported that average annual household income in the village
is US $5,800. Given that the average number of members in a household is 3,
the annual per capita income is US $1,900. As the annual per capita income in
Turkey is US $9,333, it can be concluded that the villagers economic state
is rather feeble (Turkish Statistical Institute, 2007).
In Turkey, every four months, calculations are made by the government
to determine the hunger and poverty thresholds of a four-member family.
These calculations are made by governmental institutions as well as non-governmental
ones such as labor and trade unions. According to research conducted by
a labour union named Memur-Sen, this study reveals that the expenditure
of a family of four for basic nutrition, also referred to as the hunger
threshold, is US $492. This corresponds to US $5,904 annually. The
monthly poverty threshold for a family of four, which includes indispensable
expenditures such as nutrition, clothing, healthcare, housing and education,
was estimated to be US $2,225, which is equivalent to US $26,700 per annum.
When these data are taken into consideration, it becomes evident that
the villagers income ranks far below the hunger threshold.
There are several problems which hinder the socioeconomic development
of Akbelenli Villagers. These are:
||Shortage of agricultural lands: Akbelenli Village
is surrounded by state forests. The village cannot expand to these
forests. Under current conditions, more agricultural land is not available
and the ones that are available are quite limited. In this respect,
the growing population is faced with harsh living conditions
||Shortage of water resources for irrigation: Water resources
in the village are not sufficient, especially for agricultural irritation
||Soil fertility and soil erosion: Interviewees reported that
crop production per land unit is steadily decreasing due to erosion
of top fertile soil. Ploughing the land with tractors accelerates
soil erosion, which decreases soil fertility
||Migration: As a result of this situation, young people do
not continue living in the village. As the lack of income affects
the young generation, they migrate to the cities in search of jobs
Impact of globalization on Akbelenli Village: Conventional communication
tools are still being used in Akbelenli Village for obtaining information
and general communication. Radio started to be used in 1950s and television
started to be used in 1980s. Since agricultural activities are carried
out during the day, these communication tools are only beneficial in the
evening. Also because of the fact that villagers are used to going to
bed early and getting up early, they have only a limited amount of time
for watching television and listening to the radio. Much of the responsibility
of daily life is on the shoulders of women in the village. Besides the
tasks of working in fields and raising the animals, they have the responsibility
of cooking, cleaning the house and taking care of the children. As a result,
they rarely listen to the radio or watch TV. Newspapers are rarely bought,
only when villagers get a chance to go to the city.
The cell phone came onto the market in Turkey in 1993, first in cities
and then in rural areas. Rural areas are generally out of the coverage
area of GSM operators. Akbelenli Village is also out of the coverage area
of GSM operators. Therefore, no mobile phones are used in the village.
However, some villagers, particularly men, own mobile phones and use them
outside the village where they can find a spot within the coverage area.
No household in the village owns a personal computer. Therefore, there
is no internet access in the village.
Transportation of children to the schools in the closest villages through
busing has prevented the supply of computers and equipment to the village
by the state. School-age children are given basic information technology
education in the schools they attend every day. The most important barrier
for Akbelenli villagers, who are poor and have low incomes, in terms of
computer usage is the fact that there is no economic activity that would
require the use of a computer. Therefore, villagers have no information
or interest regarding e-government or e-trade. In the past, there were
statements indicating that cities and rural areas have dual structures
in underdeveloped countries and currently this situation presents a post-modern
dual structure. However, young people of Akbelenli Village who have moved
to cities due to unemployment and insufficient income use computers in
internet cafes even if they do not have computers in their homes and this
turns out to be an important habit for them. The children of these families
who were born in cities know how to use a computer very well.
Since the villagers of Akbelenli are not able to use the internet, which
is the most common communication tool nowadays, they are unable to access
information in this information era. Consequently, villagers fail to become
a part of the information society. Nevertheless, this process will continue
along in this manner. The older generation in the village refuses to abandon
the place where were born and have lived all their lives while the younger
generation moves to the cities to earn a living. After the death of the
older generation, there will be no one left in the Akbelenli rural area.
The daily grievances of a resident of Akbelenli Village have been listed
Globalization has neither a positive nor negative impact on Akbelenli
Village. The lack of a required setting and opportunities for using new
communication tools results in two different typologies of individuals
in highland and lowland settlements. The reason for this is the lack of
resources that are necessary for villagers in highlands to earn a living.
Turkish economic policies were established for the first time during
the Turkish Economics Congress, which was held in izmir after the proclamation
of the Republic in 1923. The decisions taken by the congress laid the
groundwork for the adoption of a liberal policy in Turkish economics.
After the passage of a law (Industrial Incentive Law) in 1927, the private
sector was encouraged to contribute to and play an effective role in economic
development. However, the lack of capital accumulation, absence of investors
and lack of financing resources that would enable the realization of these
investments forced the government to intervene in the progress. Under
these circumstances, the state entered the economy as an entrepreneur
and investor and made efforts to ensure development in all areas. Through
the course of time, public and private sector development was shaped by
a policy of a mixed economy and this policy lasted until the 1950s. Following
the 1950s, a policy of liberal economics was adopted and the free trade
model was established. Nevertheless, certain factors, such as the lack
of necessary structure for the adoption of free trade, delayed the realization
of this policy. A new constitution prepared in 1961 provided for the state
to organize development plans. It was felt that only a planned economy
could lead to development. Therefore, the Turkish economy transformed
itself into a planned-development economy. Since the launch of the planned
development period, a mixed economy policy was applied to a very large
extent. For the public sector, development plans were imperative while
they were optional for the private sector. After the 1980s, keeping the
concept of planned development in mind, such targets as resolving structural
problems (to remedy the impaired macro balances, to overcome the foreign
exchange and energy problems, to close the budget deficit and so forth)
came into prominence. The state took important steps towards resolving
the problems mentioned above. Following the 1990s, radical decisions
were taken to improve the market mechanism. During the last 20 years,
the following steps have been taken in Turkey:
||Various regulations have been established with a view
towards adopting free trade; price controls on services and goods
have been lifted and subsidies have been removed
||The economy has been opened to foreign investment and red-tape barriers
that obstructed foreign investment have been lifted
||The rules regulating money and financial markets have been loosened
and foreign investors have been allowed to trade in the stock market
||Efforts to minimize the involvement of the state in the economy
have come to fruition and state economic enterprises have been handed
over to the private sector
||A great change has been observed in the consumption habits of society
||When making economic politics, international capital flows have
been taken into consideration as an important factor
Turkey is a country that frames its development efforts through policies
of liberal economics and wishes to enter the European Union.
Turkeys rural population has been in decline. This drop in population
is shown in Table 4. The rural population, which constituted
75.8% of the general population in 1927, declined to 29.5% in 2007. While
only one out of four individuals lived in cities in the past, the proportion
of urban dwellers to the total population reached 70% in 2007. After the
1950s, an exodus began to flow from rural settlements to urban areas.
With regard to Turkeys development efforts, particular attention has
been paid to rural development. For instance, the economy transformed
from an agriculture-based structure into an industry- and service-based
structure. In spite of this fact, development in rural areas is one of
the issues on the current agenda because, according to 2007 data, 29.5%
of the population employed within the domestic labor market earns their
living from agricultural production as indicated in Table
Currently there are 81 provinces, 836 districts, 688 sub-districts, 36,527
villages and 42,098 sub-villages in Turkey. Consumption tendencies in
cities and villages differed from each other 50 years ago and represented
two distinct lifestyles. Nowadays, consumption tendencies and life styles
of rural and urban populations mirror each other. This transformation
has resulted from the fact that rural residents have become aware of city
These shifts started taking place when the private sector
in Turkey was allowed to foray into television and radio broadcasting
in 1990. The newly established radio and television channels led to a
wider public access to information. Moreover major infrastructure problems
of rural areas including highways, water and electricity were substantially
overcome. Transportation vehicles began to be more widely used in rural
areas than in the past. This situation paved the way for rural residents
to travel to cities more frequently. Therefore, rural communities, particularly
the younger generation, have become influenced by the new lifestyle they
have gotten a glimpse of. On the other hand, Turkey became acquainted
with the cell phone and the internet in 1993. Cell phone and internet
use, particularly in cities, became widespread after 1997.
Globalization has had different effects on upland villages and lowland
villages. These effects can be articulated as follows:
||Lowland villages: Lowland villages are established
on flat and surface lands. Not only have their main infrastructure problems,
such as road and electricity, been resolved, but their drinking and utility
water issues have been settled as well. Moreover, sewage systems have been
established in some villages. In addition, service buildings, such as village
halls, schools and healthcare centers have been set up. There are also commercial
units, such as the village coffee house, grocery store, barber shop and
tailor shop. The population of the village is between 1,000-2,000. The number
of houses is between 250-500. The villagers have a collective settlement.
Their livelihood is dependent upon agriculture. Agriculture is carried out
using modern techniques. There is an organized social structure where villagers
have established agricultural development and irrigation cooperatives. Lowland
people are aware of the European Unions aids and grants. Some villages
have received an aid grant from the European Union for projects that they
have submitted (Schmidt, 2006). In agricultural practices,
they apply chemical treatments and chemical fertilizers. Generally, monocultural
agriculture is implemented on lands and modern machinery and equipment are
used in agricultural activities and soil cultivation. Barn animal husbandry
is practiced with new technologies in these villages. Every adult in the
village has a mobile phone. In village coffeehouses, there are satellite
receivers enabling villagers to watch every channel in the world. Some villagers
have personal computers and internet connections (Akca
et al., 1999). Moreover, internet cafés have been established
in some villages and school-age children, in particular, are very interested
in these cafés. The economic status of these villagers is better
than that of upland villagers. Some of the villagers have credit cards which
they use regularly (Tolunay et al., 2008).
||Upland villages: The main infrastructure problems of upland villages,
including roads and electricity, have been resolved. The population of the
village which was fairly dense in the past has decreased rapidly. The population
is between 100-500 people. The number of houses is between 50 and 100. The
settlement of the village is disorganized. An elderly population dominates
in the village. Internal migration and emigration are common. School-age
children attend schools in developed villages in uplands for their education.
There are no service facilities, such as healthcare centers, village halls
and so forth. There are no retail units such as grocery stores, barber shops
or tailor shops. Villagers do their shopping in the nearest towns. Resources
are insufficient. Land for agriculture is limited. Water resources are diminished
and agricultural irrigation is nearly impossible to perform. Moreover, finding
drinking water is getting harder with every passing day. Generally dry farming
products, such as wheat, barley and chickpeas are produced. Animal husbandry
is practiced in places that are suitable for grazing. The water needs of
the animals are met with tanks carrying water. Due to these adversities,
it is hard for people to conduct their lives in this area. Rural poverty
is causing distress and villagers are not able to benefit from positive
changes provided by globalization (Tolunay et al.,
Certain features of underdeveloped countries still prevail in Turkey
since a significant part of the population dwells in rural areas and earns
its livelihood through agricultural production. In order to meet their
economic needs, inhabitants of rural settlements use the resources surrounding
them (agricultural areas, forests, pastures, water resources and so forth).
Whether this use is balanced, effective and sustainable depends on the
existence and extent of resources that are available. Resources are sufficient
and at accessible levels in low basins. Inhabitants of these allocation
units are fortunate. They can sustain their living through these resources.
On the other hand, inhabitants of high basins remain forgotten. Upland
people scramble for a living under harsh conditions. These individuals
believe that there is only one solution to the problem of lack of resources:
moving to cities. The problems of the rural area inhabitants have been
transported to the cities because of internal migration. Groups of unemployed
people have emerged around outskirts of cities. These individuals still
suffer from problems related to unbalanced nutrition and food safety.
These people still maintain relations with villagers from their rural
native lands and escape hunger as villagers try to reduce their nutritional
deficiencies with the help of the dried vegetables, canned food and legumes
supplied from their rural native lands.
Globalization impacts rural communities living in Anatolia. The number
of people who benefit from these effects is too high to ignore. Lowland
villages, in particular, are able to take advantage of information accessibility
as a result of globalization. For example, rural communities can access
any information over the internet about varieties of agricultural products
which have been newly developed and improved. Moreover, villagers are
able to purchase saplings and seeds from European countries as well as
from other developed countries around the world. Lowland prople can implement
modern agricultural techniques for the seedlings and seeds which they
import. These villages, as in the case of Serpil Village, are integrated
into the national economy as well as the world economy.
Rural communities which cannot benefit from the advantages offered by
globalization are those communities living in upland settlements. For
the individuals living in these settlements, the primary issue is not
accessing information as provided through globalization, but their daily
living conditions and their struggle with hunger and poverty resulting
from the lack of resources. Agricultural lands are insufficient and there
is no water for irrigation. These individuals primarily need to obtain
enough food and only then can they effectively take advantage of global
information as the villagers of Akbelenli do.
The dual structure involving urban environments and lowland villages
has disappeared in Turkey. However, the dual structure involving urban
environments and upland villages still remains. Therefore, as a country
conducting accession negotiations with the European Union, Turkey must
revise its rural development plans and remember its forgotten citizens
before migration to the cities.
The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to the villagers
of Serpil and Akbelenli whose patience and openness made this study possible.