46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
This aim of this article is to examine the problem of regional disparities in Turkey applying to the economic and social development indicators. One of the main problems encountered in the field of regional development in Turkey is the difficulties in having access to qualified data as is the case in other countries. Therefore, it is of great importance to improve the information gathering and evaluation systems in Turkey. Social and economic development index (SEDI) rankings have contributed to the filling of the gap in this field by providing a considerable data input to development and planning initiatives conducted in Turkey on the basis of territories of various scales (districts, provinces, geographical regions, NUTS I, II, III regions). "The Socio-Economic Development Ranking Survey of Provinces and Regions (2003)", the main findings of which will be presented in this paper covers 81 provinces according to the existing administrative structure of Turkey and includes 58 variables selected from social (demographic, employment, education, health, infrastructure, other welfare) and economic (manufacturing, construction, agriculture, financial) spheres. The survey has applied Principal Component Analysis (PCA), a developed multi-variable statistical technique which allows the use of interdependent variables. The paper is composed of the following sections: The first section outlines the regional development trends in Turkey and evaluates the increasing importance of territorial development policies, applying to the relevant Turkish and international literature. The second section gives a brief summary of major regional development policies and practices that have been implemented in Turkey and the various problems of regional disparities.. The fourth section includes the methodology of SEDI studies. The fifth section evaluates and summarizes major findings of the survey and briefly lays down the results of SEDI Rankings of 81 provinces, geographical regions and NUTS II regions included in the survey. This section also includes a ranking of the industrial, health and education sectors. The fifth section presents the general conclusion and major recommendations to lessen territorial disparities in Turkey in the light of national and international discussions on the topic.