State capitalism has been a basic tenet of the developing strategy for Turkey for half a century, with import-substituting industrialization through state economic enterprises (SEEs) as a guiding principle. By 1980 a serious economic and political crisis called for a reassessment of economic policies. Policy reorientation was radical : from import substitution to export promotion, from interventionism to market forces, and from promotion of SEEs to promotion of the private sector. The state's role in the economy was reduced and emphasis has instead been put on broadly defined privatization, with the additional objectives of developing the domestic capital markets and generating revenue for the treasury. Initial operations were in the form of sales of revenue-sharing bonds and minority share sales. The first attempt at stock sales flopped. The approach was then quietly switched to block sales without thorough preparation of the legal ground.d. Since the government had not prepared the legal and political base for privatization, it had no clear strategy or concrete program. The assumption that privatization could be treated as an administrative matter was proven wrong. The cancelation of block sales coincided with a boom on the stock market with the strategy switched back to stock market sales of minority shares. For the moment, privatization has thus shrunk to a budget-deficit financing technique, with the targets of enhanced efficiency pushed into the background.
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