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Effects of Globalization on Lowland and Upland Villages in Anatolia: Case Study on Serpil and Akbelenli Villages

A. Tolunay, A. Akyol and Y. Ince
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This study investigates the effects of globalization on rural communities and was conducted in two villages, one upland and the other lowland, located in Turkey`s Western Mediterranean region. These are namely the villages of Serpil and Akbelenli, both located in Eğirdir District of Isparta Province. The Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) technique was utilized throughout the study and included such tools as interviews, observations and secondary data analysis. The results emerging from the study indicate that globalization has had varying effects on upland and lowland villages. In the village of Serpil, a low basin, (1) resources are sufficient for the rural community to live on; (2) there is no issue of migration either to or from the village due to rural poverty; (3) modern communication tools are widely used in the village; (4) villagers are in close contact with the outside world through the use of the internet; (5) villagers take fairly good advantage of the beneficial consequences of globalization. On the other hand, in the village of Akbelenli, a high basin, (1) resources are not adequate to provide subsistence to the uplands villagers; (2) the younger generation is relocating to cities and rural areas become gradually abandoned; (3) modern mass media and computer tools are not utilized due to rural poverty; (4) opportunities that globalization provides for gathering information are not taken advantage of; (5) at its present state, the rural community is unable to attain a basic grip on the information age. The primary reason why these two villages are different from each other has to do with the fact that their geographic locations and the amount of resources available to the villagers are so distinct. Therefore, in Turkey, actions aimed at rural development should be taken in consideration of this distinction between upland and lowland villages.

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  How to cite this article:

A. Tolunay, A. Akyol and Y. Ince, 2009. Effects of Globalization on Lowland and Upland Villages in Anatolia: Case Study on Serpil and Akbelenli Villages. Journal of Applied Sciences, 9: 1215-1226.

DOI: 10.3923/jas.2009.1215.1226



Mankind has tried to facilitate and bring well-being and happiness into his life throughout the ages. In spite of the fact that the scope and framework of these efforts have been modified through time, human beings are still trying to facilitate and bring well-being and happiness into their lives (Kant, 1874).

At the very beginning of her/his existence, mankind was far from community life and his aim was to feed and safeguard himself against hazards. The criteria for well-being were restricted to these goals. As time went on, mankind socialized for the first time in history by establishing a family, which is the smallest social and economic unit. Human beings passing from a stage of individual well-being to a stage of searching for well-being and happiness in a family unit, subsequently sought happiness and well-being in a new stage which provided a special legal and institutional structure as he settled down. This institutional structure can be identified as a state or country (Hutchison, 2003).

There are many countries of various sizes in the world. Along with their political and social problems, these countries also have economic problems. Although they are independent and are subject to the same legal procedures in international relations, they are classified as developing or developed countries in terms of their economy. Besides these two classifications, there is another category called ’underdeveloped’ referring to countries defined as third world countries (Adams, 2002).

The criteria commonly used to categorize a country as developed or underdeveloped are national income, growth rate, import and export rates, inflation rate and balance of payments (Bauer, 1981). Once these indicators are evaluated on a sound basis, they constitute significant values and can reflect the position of countries in the global arena. In this sense, classification of countries as developed or underdeveloped is of great importance (Strauss, 2001).

Apart from the macroeconomic indicators mentioned above, indicators regarding the social, political, cultural and demographic features of countries can demonstrate their developmental stage. Through the analysis of population-related indicators, various deductions can be gleaned. Factors such as whether the population lives in a rural or urban area and the distribution of areas in which individuals earn their living may help identify these countries as developed or underdeveloped. For instance, while in developed countries the ratio of people earning their livelihood from agriculture is 10% or less, this ratio may rise to 80% in underdeveloped countries (Raghbendra, 1994). A surplus in the agricultural workforce, a fall in agricultural efficiency, a rapidly growing population and inadequate capital are the striking features of developed countries (Preston, 1996).

Developed countries owe their development to their pioneering role in industry and technology (Chen, 1994). The development of an underdeveloped country means a transition from a structure that is based on agriculture and natural resources to a structure that is based on industry and services (Timmer, 1998).

On the one hand; underdeveloped countries provide industrial development with planned development; on the other hand, they have to find solutions to the problems facing rural populations which make up a dominant constituency within the population. There is another issue that imposes distinct significance and value in the development efforts of underdeveloped countries and is referred to as ’rural development’ (Dixon, 1990). Since the majority of the population lives in rural areas in such countries, rural development plays a significant role in development policies and strategies (Galli, 1981). In relation with the development of the country, rural development is the common term used to refer to the development efforts of individuals in rural areas to attain an improvement of living standards (Sing, 1999).

The main objective of rural development is to harness all of the available and accessible resources within the rural area effectively and efficiently to ensure the well-being and happiness of the people living in that particular area (Chambers, 1983). Ensuring the social and cultural development of rural societies, resolving problems such as nutrition and health, improving infrastructural elements (highways, water and electricity), increasing agricultural productivity and protecting the environmental equilibrium are of paramount importance in rural development operations (Oakley and Garforth, 1985).

With regard to the points mentioned above, Turkey has placed an emphasis on rural development within the framework of developmental processes that are observed in other developing countries and has taken fundamental steps towards the resolution of infrastructure problems in rural areas, such as roads, water, electricity, communication and schools. In spite of these positive developments, significant problems regarding rural development that have yet to be resolved, are still on the agenda (The State Planning Organization, 2007a).

The current structural state of the country demonstrates that the dimension and the framework of the operations in rural areas have changed. The integration of rural areas into the country’s economy has been achieved to some extent by an ongoing resolution of such glaring problems as highways, water, electricity, transport and communication ever since the 1960s. However, going forward, it is necessary to define which issues should be on the agenda and in which areas operations should continue. In short, rural development policies should be revised (The State Planning Organization, 2007b).

As the world enters a new millennium, new communication tools such as the internet, mobile phones and satellite televisions have been invented and these inventions have been used to a large extent by developed countries. Our time is the age of communication. Both the dimension and speed of communication have increased. This situation has removed borders between countries and human beings have become acquainted with a new concept called globalization (Heiduk et al., 2003).

Globalization can be defined as the integration of economic, cultural, political, religious and social systems that is capable of reaching the whole world and practically all human beings (Steger, 2003). Ouattara (1997) further elaborated on globalization in terms of economics and defines it as the integration of economies within the world through trade, financial trends, technological exchange as well as mobility of information and workforce (Aktan and Sen, 1999).

Through the course of globalization, developing countries have increased their economic and commercial contacts with Japan, the USA and developed European countries. These contacts have accelerated the integration of developing countries into the global system in terms of trade, finance and production. Integration of developing countries into the global economy is a contributing factor to a rise in the level of well-being both in developed and in developing countries (Cooke, 2007a).

On the one hand, globalization provides wider commercial markets and greater capital input while, on the other hand, it helps broaden the diversity of imported and exported products and helps expand the adoption of technological developments. Furthermore, globalization decreases transportation and communication costs and paves the way for division of labor and specialized manufacturing (Mishra and Topalova, 2007).

Through the globalization of manufacturing, an industrial society yields its place to an information society in developed countries. Therefore, the importance of the manufacturing sector lessens in the course of globalization and the importance of such sectors such banking, insurance, business and financing increases. Transition from an industrial society to an information society in developed countries is not a failure of the manufacturing sector, but a natural consequence of the economic development process. The gap emerging in the manufacturing sector is filled by developing countries. As a result, both country categories benefit from the change brought on by the globalization process (Cooke, 2007b).

Globalization has impacted rural areas and rural communities in underdeveloped countries which have dual structures (Richardson, 1997). Researchers who have been studying underdeveloped countries and rural development have noted that, 20-25 years ago, such preconceptions as the following were commonplace: (1) Rural areas of underdeveloped countries are closed economies which have a functioning mechanism peculiar to them, (2) The exchange mechanism which binds production and consumption markets in rural areas has not improved sufficiently and (3) Communication and transportation tools are inadequate (Singer, 1989). These preconceptions should be examined in order to determine whether they still exist today. Moreover, the impact of technological advances and innovations, together with globalization, on rural communities should also be investigated. This study was undertaken with the objective of making a contribution to the exploration of answers to these questions.

This study analyzes the impact of globalization in rural areas. Settlement areas of rural communities in Turkey can be classified as upland and lowland villages. This distinction is not drawn in terms of altitude levels, but in terms of the type of terrain upon which the settlement unit is established. It is argued that globalization has divergent effects on these settlement units (Tolunay et al., 2008). Therefore, in order to test this argument, one upland and one lowland village were selected as subjects for the study and the effects of globalization were analyzed.


The Rapid Rural Appraisal Technique (RRA) was used in the study (Nichols, 1991; Pratt and Loizos, 1992). RRA is cost-effective and a less time consuming means to investigate rural resource management systems (Grandstaff, 1984). This kind of research involves casual conservations with villagers held by an interdisciplinary team of researchers. Therefore, it provides opportunities for more interaction between the informants and researchers, enhancing better learning and conceptualization. RRA is a study tool that serves as a starting point for understanding a local situation; it is utilized by a multi-disciplinary team and the process lasts at least four days, but no more than three weeks. It is based on observations and interviews and operates under the assumption that not all relevant questions can be identified in advance (Beebe, 1987). It is a process of learning about rural conditions in an intensive, interactive and rapid manner. There are two types of RRA: 1) Research objective-based (General RRA and Topical RRA), 2) Unit of analysis-based (Village system RRA and Household system RRA). Research objective-based RRA was implemented in this study. Through the use of general RRA, general features, socio-economic conditions, agriculture and land use patterns of villages were investigated (Conway, 1985). Then the impact of globalization on rural communities, the main focus of this study, was analyzed by using topical RRA. The RRA technique involves: (1) Interviews, (2) Direct observations and (3) Secondary data analysis.

Interviews: Respondents included village headmen (muhtars), imams, village elders and a group of villagers comprised of 20 farmers from each village. Household members were interviewed at their home units. A semi-structured interviewing technique was used. Seven interview aides such as: Who, When, What, Where, Why, How and If were also utilized. For individual interviews, households were selected by the team based on economic, sex and occupation criteria.

Direct observation: During the fieldwork, the RRA team directly observed the general conditions of the areas, cropping patterns and residences. The team also observed the present status of the forest and agricultural crops.

Secondary data analysis: Secondary data such as topographic maps, district and province maps, rainfall and temperature were analyzed.

Timeline of the study: The study timeline was divided into two segments: first phase and second phase. The first phase started on October 20, 2007 and ended on October 26, 2007. During the first phase, the study team collected data about general conditions of the village, socio-economic conditions, agriculture and land use pattern. The second phase lasted from November 17, 2007 to November 20, 2007. During the second phase, the team collected necessary/missing data and conducted interviews with villagers.

Site and sample selection: Department of Forestry Economics of the Faculty of Forestry at Süleyman Demirel University has been carrying out ‘buffer zone forest management’ research studies in preserved areas of the Western Mediterranean region. Kovada Lake National Park is one of the areas where such studies are conducted. Serpil and Akbelenli Villages are located within the borders of this National Park. While residents of Serpil are extroverted and have a positive outlook on their future, residents of Akbelenli are unsociable and pessimistic. The reasons underlying these two opposing realities need to be investigated. The selection of sample villages was based on this criterion.

Outcomes of the study: Serpil and Akbelenli are two villages in Eğirdir District of Isparta Province, in Turkey’s West Mediterranean region (Fig. 1). The distance between these two villages is 16 kilometers. There is an altitudinal difference of 300 m between two villages. Quantitative data pertaining to the villages are shown in Table 1.

Serpil as sample of a lowland village: Serpil Village is located at 20 km to Eğirdir District and 55 km to Isparta Province. The total area of the village is about 4,589 decares including the residences, farmlands and surrounding state forests. It is situated at 850 m above sea level, with a very gentle slope and smooth topography.

Serpil Village was established at least four hundred years ago. The first settlement in Serpil arrived in 1530. The first settlers of the village were nomadic and led a nomadic lives; however, subsequently they adopted a settled way of life.

The total population of village is 605: 301 males and 304 females. The total number of households is 160. The average number of persons per household is 4. There is no emigration from Serpil village. On the contrary, people immigrate from other villages to Serpil Village due to harsh living conditions in their home villages. As indicated in Table 2, the village population shows a steady increase.

The houses in the village are two-story, reinforced concrete structures. The first floor is used as warehouse. The toilet, kitchen and bathroom are located within the house. Villagers use refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers in their daily lives. Every household in the village has a radio and television.

Table 1: Some quantitative facts regarding the villages of Serpil and Akbelenli
Collected data from the villages

Fig. 1: Location of the study area in Turkey

Table 2: Demographic trends in Serpil and Akbelenli villages
Turkish statistical institute (2007)

Table 3: Basic rural structure possibilities of Serpil and Akbelenli villages
Collected data from the villages

The villagers buy newspapers everyday. The radios and televisions are used for keeping current with daily news and cultural activities of the country. Each household has a land-line telephone. Most of the villagers have mobile phones. Some households own a personal computer. A few villagers have internet connection.

Everyone in Serpil Village is literate. There is an elementary school served by 6 teachers. The number of students receiving formal education is 70. There are 25 secondary- or higher-level students in the village. The village has a health center where a doctor along with a midwife treats the medical problems of the villagers.

There is only one store in the village. The villagers meet their shopping needs at that store. There is a weekly market in the village. Basic infrastructure facilities of the two villages are shown in Table 3.

The main sources of water are spring, river and ground waters. The villagers use water from different sources for different purposes: for instance, they use spring and ground water for fresh water. There is a water depot and water network in the village. Each household is subscribed for water services. The Kovada Channel, which is used for agricultural irrigation, flows by the village. Drip-irrigation method is used in the irrigation of agricultural areas.

Serpil Village has a total surface area of 4,589 decares. Of this area, approximately 3,205 decares are agricultural lands while 250 decares are residential and 1,134 decares are forest areas. The forests surrounding the village are state-owned and are managed by the State Forestry Directorate in Eğirdir District. Since the economic condition of the villagers is fairly good, they do not pose any harmful impact on forest resources.

Agriculture is the main source of income in Serpil Village. The principal agricultural crops are fruit products. Apples (2,800 decares), cherries (250 decares), peaches (100 decares) and plums (50 decares) are cultivated in the agricultural lands of the village.

There are two cooperatives in the village, namely the Agricultural Development Cooperative and the Cooperative for Fruit Sapling Production. The Agricultural Development Cooperative was founded to improve agricultural activities and to ensure the commitment of necessary investments. The Cooperative for Fruit Sapling Production markets the saplings that are produced. Both cooperatives sell their goods and products in domestic and foreign markets. They carefully plan and execute the marketing of their products. They preserve harvested crops in cold air reservoirs. Four cold air reservoirs have been constructed for this purpose. The products preserved in these facilities are introduced to the marketplace every season.

A few of the villagers in Serpil raise sheep, goat and cattle. Chicken is a common commodity in the village. Sheep, goats and cattle are raised for commercial purposes. Chickens are raised for household consumption only. Although the village is close to Lake Eğirdir, there is no commercial fishing; however, there are some individuals fishing for sport or for their own personal benefit. Each house in Serpil Village has a garden. The size of such gardens varies from 0.5 to 1 decare. The villagers grow vegetables and various flowers in their gardens. The products from gardens are used for solely for household consumption.

The village derives its revenues from the sale of agricultural products, off-farm income and labor income obtained from the works performed both within and outside of the village. With regard to the scope of this study, annual net in-village income was estimated to be US $5,808,000. It was also estimated that net income per household was US $36,300 and net income per capita was US $9,600. Considering that the national income per capita is US $9,333 in Turkey, it becomes evident that the village commands economic respectability.

In spite of favorable living conditions, the villagers encounter various problems in their everyday lives. These are as follows:

Agricultural areas are cultivated on a perpetual basis; in other words, there is intense cultivation, which leads to a decrease in soil fertility
Use of chemicals and fertilizers disturbs the natural equilibrium
Consumption habits of the villagers have changed. The amount of non-recyclable materials has increased due to domestic and agricultural waste. Failure to collect garbage has caused significant environmental pollution

Impact of globalization on Serpil village: Serpil Village is an allocation unit where resources are used effectively, productively and sustainably. The villagers are willing and eager to live on this geographical terrain. There is no significant difference between the lifestyles of the villagers and those of city-dwellers. The facilities that are available to city-dwellers are also available in Serpil Village. The villagers enjoy modern communication tools effectively, too. Mobile phones are used not only for communication purposes, but also for determining the borders and coordinates of the land. Thanks to internet connection, villagers have access to the worldwide market to sell their products. In addition, they can obtain information about the latest technological developments regarding agricultural production.

Personal computers and internet connections in homes facilitate access to information resources and diversify them. Interestingly, older people, who might not even have dreamed of such communication technologies 15 years ago, have adapted themselves to use these new communication tools.

Villagers are well aware of the economy and daily political events. While, in the past, money was deposited in a bank earning interest in, investment tools have diversified today. Investments are made by purchasing shares on the stock market. Consequently, movements and conditions of global stock markets are closely followed. At the same time, people have begun to use credit cards, which were not favored in the past.

It would not be wrong to state that Serpil Village has been affected by globalization in a positive direction even though it is a village in a rural part of the country. However; globalization has unfavorable effects that lead to changes in the Turkish lifestyle. These effects are generally observed among the young population because the nutritional and consumption habits of the young have been changing. Particularly, they have begun to consume fast-food. Thus, there is possibility that future societies will be composed of obese people. The same effects can be observed in the clothing styles of the young as well. They are influenced by the youth style of the world.

The villagers used to have a life style based on the close household economy model. However; the promotion of consumption by various advertisement tools has brought the consumption of local food to a standstill. There have been changes in the nutritional habits of villagers. The conventional way of life in the village has changed as well. For instance, while marriage ceremonies took place according to the local customs in the past, couples prefer getting married in wedding halls today.

What’s more, foreign words and concepts have penetrated into the everyday language of the common folk due to the fact that communication facilities are not bound only to domestic use. Instead of the Turkish idioms and phrases used in greeting and addressing people, foreign words and phrases have begun to be uttered.

Despite the negative impact of globalization, the villagers of Serpil Village lead happy lives in economic terms.

A sample of Akbelenli as an upland village: Akbelenli is located approximately 35 km from Eğirdir District and 70 km from Isparta Province. The villagers settled in the village towards the end of the 1700’s. The first inhabitants of the village came from Central Anatolia. These first settlers came to this region to find pastures. Two hundred and fifty years ago, the village area was covered with forests. However, due to the influx of settlers and rapid destruction of forests through a shift to agriculture, only few scattered natural trees have survived to date.

The village has a hilly topographic characteristic. It is the only steeply located village of Eğirdir District. Most of the area is on an undulating terrain. The altitude varies between 900 and 1,150 m. The average altitude is 1,025 m a.m.s.l. There are clusters at Akbelenli Village. The total number of households is 39 and the village has a total population of 119. The average number of persons per household is 3. There were 90 households in the village 30 years ago, but this number has decreased to 39 today. Most of the houses abandoned by villagers that have emigrated elsewhere are generally in ruins and the remaining undamaged houses are not used by people for accommodation purposes. The village population is steadily falling. The number of inhabitants, which was 521 in 1980, is 119 today.

Most of the houses are made of bricks. Sun-dried bricks are used in some of the older houses. Almost all households have modern toilets. The village has electricity. Each household has a landline telephone. Radio and television are available in all households.

The elementary school in the village is closed due to an insufficient number of students. 15 school-age children are transported to nearby schools. There is no public health clinic in Akbelenli Village. If anybody is severely sick, they are taken to the health clinic closest to the village or to the district hospital (in Eğirdir District) for proper care. Villagers also use local medicinal plants for treatment purposes.

The major sources of water in this village are spring and ground waters. Akbelenli Village satisfies its drinking water need from 3 fountains and a well. Drinking water is limy. Agricultural lands lack adequate water and there are no irrigation facilities. The climate change experienced in the last years has affected water resources and dramatic water shortages have been observed. Furthermore, some fountains have dried up by 2007.

The total surface area of the village is 2,568 decares of which 110 decares are used for housing, 1,400 decares for farming and 1,058 decares are composed of forests. Agricultural lands constitute the biggest surface area and agriculture is the main source of income. Grain is the major agricultural product.

Most of the households have livestock such as cows, domestic goats and sheep. Chickens are found in almost all households. Cows are raised for generating income from milk and dairy products. The village has no communal grassland and livestock are grazed on fallow lands and stall animals are fed by cut grass.

Cultivated lands are controlled by the villagers who prepare the soil for the growth of agricultural products. But most of the land used for agricultural purposes is not suitable for agriculture. When the top soil is eroded, villagers choose another area for agricultural purposes. This is a vicious cycle that creates poor rural conditions. Therefore, the income level of the villagers drops, further deepening their woes. About 60 % of the villagers work as hired laborers outside the village because they have small farms or only homesteads. Although they have their own farms, some farmers also work as laborers on other farms for extra income. The average labor wage in Akbelenli Village is US $10 person/day. Most young adults (16-30 old years) who have no or little income have, in search of jobs, moved to urban areas where wages are double the village rate.

For daily survival, the villagers have to use whatever resources they have in the village. Consequently, as resources decrease each year, some family members move to big cities. Therefore, every household receives income from at least one child working outside the village. Nevertheless, there are still some people living in the village and working on their farms.

The villagers reported that average annual household income in the village is US $5,800. Given that the average number of members in a household is 3, the annual per capita income is US $1,900. As the annual per capita income in Turkey is US $9,333, it can be concluded that the villagers’ economic state is rather feeble (Turkish Statistical Institute, 2007).

In Turkey, every four months, calculations are made by the government to determine the hunger and poverty thresholds of a four-member family. These calculations are made by governmental institutions as well as non-governmental ones such as labor and trade unions. According to research conducted by a labour union named Memur-Sen, this study reveals that the expenditure of a family of four for basic nutrition, also referred to as the “hunger threshold”, is US $492. This corresponds to US $5,904 annually. The monthly poverty threshold for a family of four, which includes “indispensable” expenditures such as nutrition, clothing, healthcare, housing and education, was estimated to be US $2,225, which is equivalent to US $26,700 per annum. When these data are taken into consideration, it becomes evident that the villagers’ income ranks far below the hunger threshold.

There are several problems which hinder the socioeconomic development of Akbelenli Villagers. These are:

Shortage of agricultural lands: Akbelenli Village is surrounded by state forests. The village cannot expand to these forests. Under current conditions, more agricultural land is not available and the ones that are available are quite limited. In this respect, the growing population is faced with harsh living conditions
Shortage of water resources for irrigation: Water resources in the village are not sufficient, especially for agricultural irritation purposes
Soil fertility and soil erosion: Interviewees reported that crop production per land unit is steadily decreasing due to erosion of top fertile soil. Ploughing the land with tractors accelerates soil erosion, which decreases soil fertility
Migration: As a result of this situation, young people do not continue living in the village. As the lack of income affects the young generation, they migrate to the cities in search of jobs

Impact of globalization on Akbelenli Village: Conventional communication tools are still being used in Akbelenli Village for obtaining information and general communication. Radio started to be used in 1950’s and television started to be used in 1980’s. Since agricultural activities are carried out during the day, these communication tools are only beneficial in the evening. Also because of the fact that villagers are used to going to bed early and getting up early, they have only a limited amount of time for watching television and listening to the radio. Much of the responsibility of daily life is on the shoulders of women in the village. Besides the tasks of working in fields and raising the animals, they have the responsibility of cooking, cleaning the house and taking care of the children. As a result, they rarely listen to the radio or watch TV. Newspapers are rarely bought, only when villagers get a chance to go to the city.

The cell phone came onto the market in Turkey in 1993, first in cities and then in rural areas. Rural areas are generally out of the coverage area of GSM operators. Akbelenli Village is also out of the coverage area of GSM operators. Therefore, no mobile phones are used in the village. However, some villagers, particularly men, own mobile phones and use them outside the village where they can find a spot within the coverage area.

No household in the village owns a personal computer. Therefore, there is no internet access in the village.

Transportation of children to the schools in the closest villages through busing has prevented the supply of computers and equipment to the village by the state. School-age children are given basic information technology education in the schools they attend every day. The most important barrier for Akbelenli villagers, who are poor and have low incomes, in terms of computer usage is the fact that there is no economic activity that would require the use of a computer. Therefore, villagers have no information or interest regarding e-government or e-trade. In the past, there were statements indicating that cities and rural areas have dual structures in underdeveloped countries and currently this situation presents a post-modern dual structure. However, young people of Akbelenli Village who have moved to cities due to unemployment and insufficient income use computers in internet cafes even if they do not have computers in their homes and this turns out to be an important habit for them. The children of these families who were born in cities know how to use a computer very well.

Since the villagers of Akbelenli are not able to use the internet, which is the most common communication tool nowadays, they are unable to access information in this information era. Consequently, villagers fail to become a part of the information society. Nevertheless, this process will continue along in this manner. The older generation in the village refuses to abandon the place where were born and have lived all their lives while the younger generation moves to the cities to earn a living. After the death of the older generation, there will be no one left in the Akbelenli rural area. The daily grievances of a resident of Akbelenli Village have been listed below:

Globalization has neither a positive nor negative impact on Akbelenli Village. The lack of a required setting and opportunities for using new communication tools results in two different typologies of individuals in highland and lowland settlements. The reason for this is the lack of resources that are necessary for villagers in highlands to earn a living.


Turkish economic policies were established for the first time during the Turkish Economics Congress, which was held in izmir after the proclamation of the Republic in 1923. The decisions taken by the congress laid the groundwork for the adoption of a liberal policy in Turkish economics. After the passage of a law (Industrial Incentive Law) in 1927, the private sector was encouraged to contribute to and play an effective role in economic development. However, the lack of capital accumulation, absence of investors and lack of financing resources that would enable the realization of these investments forced the government to intervene in the progress. Under these circumstances, the state entered the economy as an entrepreneur and investor and made efforts to ensure development in all areas. Through the course of time, public and private sector development was shaped by a policy of a mixed economy and this policy lasted until the 1950s. Following the 1950s, a policy of liberal economics was adopted and the free trade model was established. Nevertheless, certain factors, such as the lack of necessary structure for the adoption of free trade, delayed the realization of this policy. A new constitution prepared in 1961 provided for the state to organize development plans. It was felt that only a planned economy could lead to development. Therefore, the Turkish economy transformed itself into a planned-development economy. Since the launch of the planned development period, a mixed economy policy was applied to a very large extent. For the public sector, development plans were imperative while they were optional for the private sector. After the 1980s, keeping the concept of planned development in mind, such targets as resolving structural problems (to remedy the impaired macro balances, to overcome the foreign exchange and energy problems, to close the budget deficit and so forth) came into prominence. The state took important steps towards resolving the problems mentioned above. Following the 1990’s, radical decisions were taken to improve the market mechanism. During the last 20 years, the following steps have been taken in Turkey:

Various regulations have been established with a view towards adopting free trade; price controls on services and goods have been lifted and subsidies have been removed
The economy has been opened to foreign investment and red-tape barriers that obstructed foreign investment have been lifted
The rules regulating money and financial markets have been loosened and foreign investors have been allowed to trade in the stock market
Efforts to minimize the involvement of the state in the economy have come to fruition and state economic enterprises have been handed over to the private sector
A great change has been observed in the consumption habits of society
When making economic politics, international capital flows have been taken into consideration as an important factor

Turkey is a country that frames its development efforts through policies of liberal economics and wishes to enter the European Union.

Turkey’s rural population has been in decline. This drop in population is shown in Table 4. The rural population, which constituted 75.8% of the general population in 1927, declined to 29.5% in 2007. While only one out of four individuals lived in cities in the past, the proportion of urban dwellers to the total population reached 70% in 2007. After the 1950s, an exodus began to flow from rural settlements to urban areas.

With regard to Turkey’s development efforts, particular attention has been paid to rural development. For instance, the economy transformed from an agriculture-based structure into an industry- and service-based structure. In spite of this fact, development in rural areas is one of the issues on the current agenda because, according to 2007 data, 29.5% of the population employed within the domestic labor market earns their living from agricultural production as indicated in Table 5.

Currently there are 81 provinces, 836 districts, 688 sub-districts, 36,527 villages and 42,098 sub-villages in Turkey. Consumption tendencies in cities and villages differed from each other 50 years ago and represented two distinct lifestyles. Nowadays, consumption tendencies and life styles of rural and urban populations mirror each other. This transformation has resulted from the fact that rural residents have become aware of city lifestyles.

Table 4: Trends of rural and urban populations in Turkey
Turkish statistical institute (2007)

Table 5: Employment trends in Turkish economy
Turkish statistical institute (2007)

These shifts started taking place when the private sector in Turkey was allowed to foray into television and radio broadcasting in 1990. The newly established radio and television channels led to a wider public access to information. Moreover major infrastructure problems of rural areas including highways, water and electricity were substantially overcome. Transportation vehicles began to be more widely used in rural areas than in the past. This situation paved the way for rural residents to travel to cities more frequently. Therefore, rural communities, particularly the younger generation, have become influenced by the new lifestyle they have gotten a glimpse of. On the other hand, Turkey became acquainted with the cell phone and the internet in 1993. Cell phone and internet use, particularly in cities, became widespread after 1997.

Globalization has had different effects on upland villages and lowland villages. These effects can be articulated as follows:

Lowland villages: Lowland villages are established on flat and surface lands. Not only have their main infrastructure problems, such as road and electricity, been resolved, but their drinking and utility water issues have been settled as well. Moreover, sewage systems have been established in some villages. In addition, service buildings, such as village halls, schools and healthcare centers have been set up. There are also commercial units, such as the village coffee house, grocery store, barber shop and tailor shop. The population of the village is between 1,000-2,000. The number of houses is between 250-500. The villagers have a collective settlement. Their livelihood is dependent upon agriculture. Agriculture is carried out using modern techniques. There is an organized social structure where villagers have established agricultural development and irrigation cooperatives. Lowland people are aware of the European Union’s aids and grants. Some villages have received an aid grant from the European Union for projects that they have submitted (Schmidt, 2006). In agricultural practices, they apply chemical treatments and chemical fertilizers. Generally, monocultural agriculture is implemented on lands and modern machinery and equipment are used in agricultural activities and soil cultivation. Barn animal husbandry is practiced with new technologies in these villages. Every adult in the village has a mobile phone. In village coffeehouses, there are satellite receivers enabling villagers to watch every channel in the world. Some villagers have personal computers and internet connections (Akca et al., 1999). Moreover, internet cafés have been established in some villages and school-age children, in particular, are very interested in these cafés. The economic status of these villagers is better than that of upland villagers. Some of the villagers have credit cards which they use regularly (Tolunay et al., 2008).
Upland villages: The main infrastructure problems of upland villages, including roads and electricity, have been resolved. The population of the village which was fairly dense in the past has decreased rapidly. The population is between 100-500 people. The number of houses is between 50 and 100. The settlement of the village is disorganized. An elderly population dominates in the village. Internal migration and emigration are common. School-age children attend schools in developed villages in uplands for their education. There are no service facilities, such as healthcare centers, village halls and so forth. There are no retail units such as grocery stores, barber shops or tailor shops. Villagers do their shopping in the nearest towns. Resources are insufficient. Land for agriculture is limited. Water resources are diminished and agricultural irrigation is nearly impossible to perform. Moreover, finding drinking water is getting harder with every passing day. Generally dry farming products, such as wheat, barley and chickpeas are produced. Animal husbandry is practiced in places that are suitable for grazing. The water needs of the animals are met with tanks carrying water. Due to these adversities, it is hard for people to conduct their lives in this area. Rural poverty is causing distress and villagers are not able to benefit from positive changes provided by globalization (Tolunay et al., 2008)


Certain features of underdeveloped countries still prevail in Turkey since a significant part of the population dwells in rural areas and earns its livelihood through agricultural production. In order to meet their economic needs, inhabitants of rural settlements use the resources surrounding them (agricultural areas, forests, pastures, water resources and so forth). Whether this use is balanced, effective and sustainable depends on the existence and extent of resources that are available. Resources are sufficient and at accessible levels in low basins. Inhabitants of these allocation units are fortunate. They can sustain their living through these resources. On the other hand, inhabitants of high basins remain forgotten. Upland people scramble for a living under harsh conditions. These individuals believe that there is only one solution to the problem of lack of resources: moving to cities. The problems of the rural area inhabitants have been transported to the cities because of internal migration. Groups of unemployed people have emerged around outskirts of cities. These individuals still suffer from problems related to unbalanced nutrition and food safety. These people still maintain relations with villagers from their rural native lands and escape hunger as villagers try to reduce their nutritional deficiencies with the help of the dried vegetables, canned food and legumes supplied from their rural native lands.

Globalization impacts rural communities living in Anatolia. The number of people who benefit from these effects is too high to ignore. Lowland villages, in particular, are able to take advantage of information accessibility as a result of globalization. For example, rural communities can access any information over the internet about varieties of agricultural products which have been newly developed and improved. Moreover, villagers are able to purchase saplings and seeds from European countries as well as from other developed countries around the world. Lowland prople can implement modern agricultural techniques for the seedlings and seeds which they import. These villages, as in the case of Serpil Village, are integrated into the national economy as well as the world economy.

Rural communities which cannot benefit from the advantages offered by globalization are those communities living in upland settlements. For the individuals living in these settlements, the primary issue is not accessing information as provided through globalization, but their daily living conditions and their struggle with hunger and poverty resulting from the lack of resources. Agricultural lands are insufficient and there is no water for irrigation. These individuals primarily need to obtain enough food and only then can they effectively take advantage of global information as the villagers of Akbelenli do.

The dual structure involving urban environments and lowland villages has disappeared in Turkey. However, the dual structure involving urban environments and upland villages still remains. Therefore, as a country conducting accession negotiations with the European Union, Turkey must revise its rural development plans and remember its forgotten citizens before migration to the cities.


The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to the villagers of Serpil and Akbelenli whose patience and openness made this study possible.

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