The Second World Congress of Gagauzians

August 17 - 20, 2009

Gagauz Yeri






Prof. Dr. Ata ATUN

Near East University and SAMTAY Foundation

Lefkosa,  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus




Moldova's economy is based on agriculture and industry. Agriculture production includes grapes, fruits and vegetables. Industry includes electrical engineering, metallurgic, and food enterprises most located in Transdniestr. The Moldovan economy is heavily dependent on energy imports.

Subordinate to Moldova constitutionally and for foreign relations and defense, Gagauz Yeri (Gagauzia) is an autonomous region covering 1832 sq km of noncontiguous land in the southern region. Unlike to Transdniestr the region eventually found its niche within Moldova through judicious mediation.


Gagauz Yeri comprises three towns and 27 villages dotted throughout three broken-up districts, Comrat, Ceadar-Linga and Vulcaneşti.


“Gagauz Yeri” or the Gagauzia’s economy is primarily agricultural, consisting of wheat and other grain production, cattle-breeding and viticulture, with in Moldava’s. 

 Gagauz Yeri’s main income is predominantly based on the vast agricultural soil. The base of the Gagauzian economy is agriculture, particularly viticulture. The main export products are wine, sunflower oil, non-alcoholic beverages, wool, leather and textiles. There are twelve wineries, processing over 400,000 tonnes annually. There are also two oil factories, two carpet factories, one meat factory, and one non-alcoholic beverages factory.

The huge portion of the trade profit is reaped by Chisinau, the Moldovian capital.


During past years the Gagauz Yeri Government established the “tasks” concerning one of the most discussed issues of its development Programme “The two magical threes”. 300 new labour places and the Gagauzia’a average wage of 300 USD.


Among all future regions of development only two exist today in reality. Chisinau where economic life is concentrated and accrues. The second best is the Gagauz Yeri. The “rest” of Moldova is rarely discussed at all. 


The economic peculiarity of the region is obvious. Unlike other administrative-territorial units whose number and border are flexible and are set starting from the specific tasks of state management, Gagauz Yeri, as an autonomous territorial formation, enjoys the special treatment and differs through a considerable advantage.

It’s territorial “stability” initially rests upon the results of the referendum of 1995, which means that, considering the expanded powers and increased responsibility, real regional development is possible here.  


The first Programme of socio-economic development of Gagauz Yeri (Gagauzia) approved by the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia in April of 1997, established priorities and indicators of development for 1996-2000. But it appears that on top of the inadequate financial sources, the influences of the 1998 force major, affected the implementation and the outcome of this idea.


Later in 2001 an attempt was undertaken to elaborate the Regional programme for the Development of Gagauz-Yeri. To set up a programme based on human development together with encouragement of industrial investment was planned again. This time the plan covered the period till 2020, taking into account the capacities of the state as a whole.


 The share of the capable population has abruptly increased (64%), while traditionally, due to high “children’s quote” it was 45-50%, since 1997.

The number of those employed dropped by 17% during the last 5 years.

The average wage in Gagauz Yeri is nearly 25% lower than the Moldova and less by half as compared to the capital.

Since the rate of employment and the income per capita is not in a comforting level, structural shifts in the real sector of economy, encouragement of entrepreneurship, attraction of internal and external investments imperatively needed. 


The investment legislation of Gagauz Yeri has some positive experience of its own. Under the Law on Investments and Investment Activity of Gagauz Yeri, starting from 2001 all agents of the investment activity enjoy benefits provided by the legislation of Moldova and extra benefits, under the local law.

In the Republic of Moldova, it was only 2004 when foreign and domestic investors were afforded equal treatment.


This bureaucratic opportunity gives Gagauz Yeri to attract investors to levy the autonomous region’s income and human development of the Gagauz people.


The Gagauz Administrators has the facility to turn their faces to three different courses, without breaking the hearts of the other two.


The eastern course should be directed to Russia.

Acting president, the now Prime Minister V. Putin has given life to Russia during his administration and it is now the leading country of the western and central Asia countries. Probably the core of the second political and economic power of the world, hand in hand with China. 

Russia’s interests, contributions and support to the region seems improving each year. A good cooperation will call in Russian investments and may lead to harbouring new technology, which at the end will have direct effect on the improvement of the economy.


The Southern course should be directed to Turkey.  

Turkey now, is the political and economic leader of the Middle East beyond any dispute. And fortunately is in good relations and solidarity with Russia. Administrating good relations with Turkey will not give any harm to the Gagauz ties with Russia.

In year 2001 during the Demirel era, Turkish textile company “Asena-Textil” has invested in the territory and currently operates in two more settlements, which meant real jobs and wages. Invitation to the Turkish investors, especially to MUSIAD, the “Association of Industrialists” through the R.T. Erdogan, the Prime Minister, definitely will attract some investment to the area.


The Western course should be directed to European Union via Romania.


It seems that transport and geographical closeness to the countries of the Danube-Balkans region and the Black Sea basin of the European Union, topped by the traditional close cultural and economic ties with them, together with traditional enterprise of the population may attract European investors to the region.

The very strategic location of  Gagauz Yeri, on the contact point of Western asia with Eastern Europe  should be well evaluated and converted to local benefit by the Gagauzian Politicians and Administration.