Former U.S. Government Officials Discussed Turkey, G20 and the Global Economy


Washington, D.C November 10, 2015 – As the leaders of the G20 are getting ready to gather in Turkey on November 15 to address their critical challenges of economic, financial and other pressing issues, Turkish Heritage Organization (THO) brought together former U.S. Government officials for a roundtable discussion to discuss what to expect from the upcoming G20 economic summit.

Edwin M. Truman, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for International Affairs and current Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Colin Bradford, former Chief Economist at the USAID and current Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute informed the audience about Turkey’s role in the G20, issues and the outlook for the global economy and governance.

Growth through Collective Action

Colin Bradford praised Turkey’s G20 leadership along with its accomplishments and said that the theme Turkey set for this year’s summit “inclusive and robust growth through collective action” was a reflection of these accomplishments. “Turkey has done an outstanding job of carrying the torch on the core economic issues that the G20 has dealt” said Bradford.

Former USAID Chief Economist argued that as a non-EU member, Turkey will use its advantage of hosting the G20 summit as a leverage point for its economic and geopolitical issues such as the refugee crisis and terrorism. Bradford also said that he believed the most contentious issue for Turkey at this summit was going to be the direction of monetary policies.

G20 Summits and Commitments

Former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for International Affairs, Edwin M. Truman, provided a brief overview of G20’s formation and Turkey’s addition the group. Truman said that U.S. has always had a supportive economic policy that pushes Turkey to achieve its best and Turkey’s inclusion to the G20 was part of this effort.  

Commenting on G20 commitments, Truman said that although Turkey has been preoccupied with domestic issues, it has done a remarkable job for promoting global growth and ensuring the commitment of G20 members to critical issues. Citing a study conducted by the University of Toronto, Truman said that although Turkey has been improving its G20 commitment compliance rankings over the years, it has the potential to do better.

Global Economic Outlook

Moderator Haluk Unal, professor at University of Maryland and Special Advisor to the Center for Financial Research of the FDIC, indicated that the global economic growth was still slow. Unal suggested that unless China makes the shift from an investment based economy to consumption based economy, the global growth outlook was going to remain as a concern for the G20 leaders.

Colin Bradford noted that initially, U.S. has made a mistake in interpreting China’s commitment to play a positive role in the international economic system and institutions. He said that following the Chinese President’s visit, Washington recanted from that position. Bradford said that next week’s G20 Summit in Turkey will be a crucial vehicle for China to continue to build on that international role prior to its Presidency in 2016.