What is 'Anatolian Tiger'

Anatolian Tigers are a colloquial term that refers to a number of cities in central Turkey whose industrial prowess since the 1980s has resulted in impressive growth rates for the region and nation. Anatolian Tigers include prominent cities such as Gaziantep, Kayseri and Konya, which have most of firms among Turkey's 500 biggest companies. The term also refers to the many successful entrepreneurs from these cities, as well as to the emerging Turkish middle class.

BREAKING DOWN 'Anatolian Tiger'

The successful Turkish cities that comprise the Anatolian Tigers can be traced back to the economic liberalization programs that were initiated in Turkey after 1980. With little or no state investment or subsidies, these cities flourished as the economic reforms unleashed a wave of entrepreneurship. Since 1980, Turkey's overall economic growth has been powered by the Anatolian tigers. The nation's exports grew from about $2.9 billion in 1980 to $157 billion in 2017, while per capita GDP quadrupled from $2,526 in 1980 to over $10,000 over the same period.

Aside from their manufacturing, the definition of Anatolian Tigers generally excludes companies who have their headquarters in the largest cities of Turkey, such as İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa and Adana, as well as companies constituted with public capital.

There are variations of the term, such "Turkey's Tigers" or "Turkish Tigers," as used by the PBS without excluding the most commonly used form of "Anatolian Tigers" have also been pronounced.

Characteristics of Anatolian Tigers

Beyond their economic similarities, international (and other) media have made reference to different political connotations within the term, including by associating this capital with Islamic values or extending its whole under such definitions as "Islamic capital" or "green capital". The political choices and the voting trends of the cities may differ widely between each other.

A 2005 study by the European Stability Initiative that was focused on Kayseri uses the term "Islamic Calvinists" to define Anatolian Tiger entrepreneurs and their values. However, these qualities have made Anatolian Tiger companies traditionally less accessible to foreign investors. The family-run enterprises that typify the Anatolian Tiger model tend not to be interested in selling stakes to strategic investors, but are open to the idea of joint ventures with foreign companies, according to Gun. But, given that many of these companies continue to be led by the entrepreneurs that built them from the ground up, they also tend to require significantly more persuasion concerning how a foreign partner can help move things forward.

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