Prof. Dr. Ersan Bocutoğlu

Department of Economics

Karadeniz Technical University

Trabzon, Turkey

Dear Professor Wallerstein,

I read in utmost care the called declaration of Academics For Peace and saw your signature in the list of signatories at the end of the document. You are the only one in the list that I know better although we have not yet come face to face so far. What makes me to feel most familiar to you is the voluminous books you have written, seminars and conferences you have given, articles and papers you have presented, that I have proceeded via printing houses and social media. While I am writing these lines, your four-volume books, The Modern World System 1, 2, 3 and 4 on my table beside my PC are looking at me and trying to find out what I am about to write.

I have been teaching macroeconomics and history of economic thought at economics department of Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences and Graduate School of Social Sciences, Karadeniz (Black Sea) Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey. The highly stylized world of mainstream economics, especially since Milton Friedman, has put me in trouble with correctly understanding the real economic world in which we live. I never satisfied with mainstream economic thinking where theory and real world are gradually diverging. The World-System Analysis you pioneered has shade lights on my economic thinking and analysis and showed that no economic analyses with global dimension can be carried out without taking into consideration the core-periphery relations and its dependency effect. In my experience, it is much more easier to understand how the real world works and the parts of real world interact when economic analysis is embedded in World System Framework.

The paper I have been trying nowadays to prepare for International Congress on Eurasian Economies that will be held in fall this year is on ‘A Contribution to the Middle Income Trap Debate in Terms of Wallerstein’s World-System Theory: The Turkish Case’. As you know in detail, middle-income trap is, in a nutshell, a phenomenon that some countries come to economic slowdowns after experiencing relatively high rates of growth and fail to graduate to high-income countries. When carefully examined, it is seen that middle-income trap countries are not homogenous. You may see in the same list China, India, Brazil and Turkey that once have imperial past, with for example extremely poor Sub Saharan countries. In my paper I am trying to find out the answer to this question: “Is Turkey’s position in middle-income trap countries classified by World Bank experts a natural consequence of her development path or is she hegemonized by core countries to prevent world-system division of labor from being disturbed by semi-peripheral countries such as Turkey or both of them or none of them? I am collecting evidence to prove that Turkey’s so-called position in middle-income trap may not be solely the natural consequences of her development path and core countries may be, to a certain degree, responsible for her position since dependency effect suggests that core states put pressure on especially the semi-peripheral countries to save the division of labor predetermined by core states. Although my presentation about my on-coming paper is so far too mechanical and of a taste of sloganism, I hope it gives you a hint about my course of action.

My Dear College,

The reason why I am writing this open letter to you is off course not to interfere with your freedom of speech and critical thinking because I am in this particular case in line with Voltaire who once said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I believe that the sentiment of this quotation is one of the pillars of freedom of speech.

The reason why I am writing to you is that the statement in the declaration that you have already signed as “…this deliberate and planned massacre is in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party. These actions are in serious violation of international law…” made me unhappy. I think and strongly believe that the part in the statement as “…deliberate and planned massacre…” requires further deliberation. I do not insist that you may not know whole story that is told you about Turkey in last decades. Nonetheless, I am sure, your experience has whispered in your ear that devil lays in details. The Turkish case must be hypercorrectly examined before coming to conclude that she is carrying out ‘a deliberate and planned massacre’ against her people. The main question that should be answered right now is whether or not freedom of speech and human rights arguments are made use by groups with guns in hand.

Dear Professor Wallerstein,

Although I appreciate your sensitiveness about human right violations worldwide, the Turkish case does not lend itself readily to conform to those that make you sensitive. The naked truth in this particular part of the world, I am sure that you justify, is strongly related with struggles among core states to fill in the power vacuum emerged after immediate collapse of Soviet Union and to reshape the oil rich Middle East.

To learn the whole story about Turkey, we have to give ear to an old Latin phrase saying “audi alteram partem”. Therefore I would be very pleased if you consider accepting the invitation of Republic of Turkey to come to Turkey and listen to the related parties. The fact that final decision is yours is beyond any doubt.

Finally a maxim on the conduct of judges should also be recalled in Latin term: Respiciendum est indicanti ne quid aut durius aut remissius constituatur quam causa deposcit nec enim aut severitatis aut clementiae Gloria affectanda est.

It will be a pleasure of mine to hear from you soon. I remain,

Very truly yours,

Prof. Dr. Ersan Bocutoğlu,

Department of Economics

Karadeniz Technical University


daha fazla...
prev next