Gov’t measures on economy do not promise sound recovery: İYİ Party leader
Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
The measures being taken by the government do not promise a sound recovery for Turkey’s ailing economy and national currency because they lack structural reforms and they do not build confidence, the chairwoman of the oppositional İYİ (Good) Party has said, underlining that economic conditions would have a strong impact on the upcoming local elections.
“It is not possible to resolve all the economic problems of Turkey through policing methods. More structural measures need to be taken for a more sustainable recovery. In fact, many of the reasons of this economic crisis is political. There is no trust due to the lack of rule of law and other key parameters for investors and the business world,” İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener said in an interview with the daily Hürriyet and the Hürriyet Daily News on her visit to the Demirören Media Center on Oct. 11.
“The packages the government has announced are empty and far from proposing concrete actions,” Akşener said, obviously referring to the government’s recently unveiled economic program and anti-inflation measures.
Akşener predicted the economy would play a major role in the electoral attitudes on the local elections slated for late March 2019 and deteriorating economic conditions would likely hit people more in the coming months.
“The effects of the 24.5 percent annual inflation will likely be more visible in the coming period as the consumer price index is already around 45 percent and the Turkish Lira is losing value against foreign currencies,” she said.
The policing methods Akşener has referred to are the government’s strict measures against supermarkets and other retail shops in a bid to deter them from raising sale prices. “We have seen such methods in the past. They do not work. So my question to the government: Are we becoming introverted or are we pursuing a free market policy under strict surveillance?” she said.
As she mentioned the need of building trust to all economic actors, Akşener referred to an ongoing row between the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over the latter’s stakes in İş Bank legated by Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Erdoğan said the CHP’s stakes could perfectly be transferred to the Treasury through a change in the laws with the support of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), its closest political ally.
“Apart from the fact these stakes were left to the CHP by Atatürk, I want to touch on this issue from another point. These stakes will first be transferred to the Treasury and then to the Wealth Fund. They will later be sold to a pro-government businessman. How would it be regarded by national and foreign investors? They would simply be concerned their assets would also be confiscated one day,” Akşener said.
“These methods should be abandoned,” she said.
İYİ Party mulls alliance with CHP on local polls
With the looming of local elections, all political parties have begun pondering over potential alliances in a bid for better performance. The İYİ Party, which had 10 percent of votes in June 24 elections only seven months after its foundation is also eyeing a good success in local polls, Akşener hinted.
In case the İYİ Party and the CHP would come to an agreement, the two parties can cooperate especially in metropolitan constituencies, like Istanbul and Ankara, Akşener said, implying that two parties can appoint a single candidate in each city. Mansur Yavaş, a nationalist politician who had run for Ankara mayor in 2014 with the CHP ticket could be the most desirable candidate for the capital city, she stressed.
“However,” Akşener said, “we have not yet made our decision whether we should partner with other parties. There are some informal talks but we have not started any official process with either the CHP or any other party. We are carrying out our campaign as if we will run on our own in the polls.”
Akşener, who had to form her own party after she was dismissed from the MHP by Devlet Bahçeli, made clear she would file a criminal complaint against her former leader because of his role in last week’s protest at midnight by a group of MHP followers in front her house. Although Bahçeli dismissed these protestors from his party’s local organization, he defended them by saying it was “a democratic right.”
“A democratic right to protest cannot be staged at 11:30 p.m. and in front of my home. Harsh polemics between politicians had always happened in the past but they never took place in front of their home. Turkey has experienced some very bitter times in the past. We do not want them to repeat and that is why we will not be a part of this tension,” she said.
However, she also underlined Bahçeli’s role in this protest and that is why she will file a criminal complaint on him through her lawyers. Akşener also informed she had officially appealed to the Interior Ministry for an additional two bodyguards to her existing team of four policemen.
Turkey should give strong reaction to Saudi Arabia
On the disappearance of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, Akşener described the incident as a major humiliation and disrespect to Turkey at the hands of Saudi Arabia. “This incident has destroyed Turkey’s dignity and prestige,” she said.
“Therefore, a very strong reaction should be given to Saudi Arabia so no other country in the future will dare act like this in our territories,” Akşener said.