Main opposition CHP leader blasts government for privatizing sugar plants in central Turkey

Main opposition CHP leader blasts government for privatizing sugar plants in central Turkey

ANKARA
Main opposition CHP leader blasts government for privatizing sugar plants in central Turkey

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) bid to privatize 14 sugar plants in central Turkey, saying the move aims to promote starch-based sugar production and “affects nearly a million Turkish citizens.”

“Sugar factories are part of our history. They were the first factories built in the Republic of Turkey. It is our duty to revive and modernize those plants. Turkey has come to a point where it is now having to buy sugar, when it used to sell it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 27, addressing the CHP parliamentary group.

His comments came after a notice published in the Official Gazette on Feb. 21 stated that bids will be collected for 14 sugar plants across Turkey before April.

The move drew considerable criticism, with the Sugar-Work Union appealing to the Council of State for a stay of execution of the bids by the Privatization Board of Turkey (OİB) and filing a criminal complaint against the OİB authorities for “malpractice.”

Kılıçdaroğlu said nearly 25,000 families across the country live on sugar beet and noted that Turkey is the world’s third top country in sugar beet production.

“Now they are saying they will sell off the sugar factories. Today the sugar sector creates added value worth $3 billion. It is a strategic product for Turkey,” he added.

The CHP head suggested that the government’s move is related to U.S. food corporation Cargill’s investments in Turkey.

“They are doing this to clear the way for the starch-based sugar production. They gave promises to the former president of the United States for Cargill to establish here in Turkey” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

He also noted that the AKP prepared the ground for such a privatization by first closing down the Sugar Authority regulator and then amending the privatization law. The law previously only allowed privatization in the event of “public waste,” but with the amendment a condition of “bringing in revenue to the public” was added, Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Cargill produces liquid sugar from Genetically Modified Corns and the use of such sugar is forbidden in some countries, though consumption in Turkey is rising, the CHP leader stated.

“In our country, consumption of liquid sugar is at 11 percent. It could increase in the coming periods. All honorable scientists say these starch-based sugars cause obesity, breast cancer, colon cancer and liver problems,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

CHP, sugar, Government