ANKARA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Turkey, the world's 16th largest economy with export-oriented growth, is looking to strengthened rules under the framework of the 159-member World Trade Organization (WTO) for expanding its trade, Turkish analysts said.
"Despite difficulties lying ahead with the stalled Doha round of trade talks, Turkey is one of those that believe the WTO should remain the main platform for multilateral trade talks," Abdullah Bozkurt, Turkish expert, told Xinhua.
"Formulating new rules for world trade with liberalized market access is the main motivation for Turkey to keep supporting the role of the WTO," he added.
The Eurasian country aims to increase its share of world trade from 0.8 percent (153 billion U.S. dollars) at the present to 2 percent (500 billion U.S. dollars).
Along with other emerging economies, Turkey considers the WTO as the main body to deliver trade rules and settle disputes among trading partners.
Although emerging economies hold a positive view on regional and sub-regional free trade deals, they are also concerned that these trade agreements will bypass the WTO regulations and will ultimately harm the interests of developing countries.
"I think emerging economies are in the same boat here," Bozkurt said.
He said Turkey is concerned about the United States' free trade talks with the EU, dubbed as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and that others share similar concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
"Emerging economies do not want to be sidelined by these huge regional trade deals," he noted.
Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan told reporters last week before his meeting with visiting WTO director-general Pascal Lamy that the U.S.-EU free trade talks will seriously hurt Turkey if it does not involve Turkey in the negotiations.
Bozkurt Aran, an expert at the Ankara-based Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, said Turkey has benefitted from the WTO system and wishes to see a well functioning World organization to continue.
"The WTO is a member-driven organization where the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the members, who are expected to contribute to it so that the system continues to work smoothly," said Aran, who is Turkey's former representative to the WTO.
Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that Turkey wants to see its trade to grow based on liberal, transparent and predictable rules but the Doha talks have failed to achieve significant results.
Lamy blames the lack of agreement in Doha talks on the differences among WTO member states, saying in a recent TV interview "If major members can't agree, there is not much I can do apart from trying to explain [the situation] to them."
Despite challenges, he defended the WTO's record, saying that the organization has delivered fundamentals for open trade in recent years.
He also sounded optimistic on the conclusion of the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO's Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali in December. "I think we will have a deal in Bali," he said, predicting that deal may save the world some 1 trillion dollars in costs of trade.
Turkey supports expanding the WTO's membership to include more of its trading partners. Among neighbors of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Azerbaijan are not WTO members yet. It also sees the WTO crucial in opening it up to the African and Latin American markets.