Desperately waiting for a new government
Turkey still has no government. No government is bad for Turkey. Turks feel the impact of no government more directly than Belgians and Danes. After all, no government means no decisions in Turkey.
Wonder why Turks are desperately waiting for a new government? First of all, Turkey is more centralized than either Belgium or Denmark. Belgium is a federal state. So by definition, it is decentralized. Denmark, on the other hand, is a unitary state. But there are other important differences there too.
The two countries are the exact opposites of each other when it comes to their governance structures. Some 78 percent of all public sector employees are working in Denmark’s local administrations. Compare that with the fact that only 9 percent of public sector employees work for local authorities in Turkey. In Belgium’s federal state, 85 percent of public sector employees work for local administrations. So Denmark, despite its unitary structure, is as decentralized as Belgium. Sweden, another unitary state, also has 85 percent of all public sector employees working for its local authorities. So Turkey’s over-centralization cannot be explained away by pointing to its system of government. It is about the way in which the state apparatus is structured. In Turkey, nearly 90 percent of all public sector employees are beholden to Ankara while doing their job. Why is that important? Because it means that while Copenhagen or Brussels can go on for months without forming a government, Ankara has no such luxury. The more centralized the authority, the more it paralyzes the whole country if there is no government. This is the first reason why Turks are desperately waiting for a new government.
Let me underline the second reason. Everything has been calm in the Turkish financial markets since we have had the results of the June elections. Everybody is waiting for a new government to initiate a new era of normalization and reconciliation. You cannot make revolutions every day, after all. There is a time for settling down. In this transition period, there is no political interference to Central Bank decisions. It gives a kind of the relative autonomy to the bank, and in theory, could have let the economy eliminate some stress.
That is what should have happened. Without a new government, however, uncertainty lingers on and desperation builds up. We need to relieve that pressure from the markets.
Why is it taking us so long to form a coalition? Because of the P4+1 structure of Turkish politics. P4 stands for the four political parties that passed the election threshold, and the plus one the directly elected president of the republic. I have noted elsewhere that a president elected directly by more than 50% of the popular vote has something more to say to the political parties that garnered at most 40% of the popular vote. C’est la vie.
That is third reason why we are desperately waiting for a new government.