Tenth of the plan not to be implemented
TARHAN ERDEMThe Tenth Development Plan was approved late Monday night at 2 a.m. with 240 votes in favor and 19 against. Only 10 percent of opposition deputies voted against the motion, while 70 percent of ruling party deputies voted in favor, for your information.
I just cannot eliminate the urge, from my life, to want to know what the government and the Parliament think on such topics. It must be because I lived through the exciting days of the preparation of the first plan; I took a look at the debate minutes and read them.
For a long time, the connection between the plan and practice has been loose. Those working in the bureaucracy as well as members of the government had no difficulty while implementing measures and policies outside or, moreover, against the plan. It looks as if there is nobody left to defend the plan. In the earlier stages, the government would defend the plan until it was approved, then the opposition would defend it. Gradually, both the government and the opposition had decreasing levels of respect for the plan.
Regardless of how it will be implemented, the “Tenth Plan” approved in the Parliament shows how the ruling party envisions the next five years, how the “Target 2023” is to be formed, what will be prioritized and which principles will be shoved aside.
I will be commenting on the chapters of “Qualified Person, Strong Society, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Strategic Management in Public” and the “Local Administrations” part.
In such documents, even if it is not meant to be implemented, consistent judgments and policies should be written. It is apparent that the Tenth Plan was written without any concern in mind for consistency. For example, in a paragraph in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms chapter, it is written that the necessary changes have been made to base the practice of the right to assembly on a more democratic foundation. In another paragraph, it is said that “the need to institute pluralist and liberal democracy in our country in a more deep-rooted way and to advance it forward continues.” It is either that the necessary changes have not been made or the needs are not continuing. If both of them appear in the same chapter, then there is a problem in the government.
The Strategic Management in Public chapter explains that we are far from reform in the Public Servants Law. On the topic of strategic management, it is those arrangements that have some have been attempting to make in the central administration budget that are mostly highlighted. However, whether it is in strategic or current affairs, our country has an administration reform issue of the first priority, and this has been frequently expressed at the Cabinet level. Despite that, civil servant principles have not been included in the plan, even though these principles should have shaped the plan of the coming five years.
When we come to local administrations, the plan mentions that a new Constitution will be drafted that will “widen the field of freedom… an inclusive, integrating one…” but there is not even one reference to decentralization. The plan also does not include how the mayors and city councils that will be elected next March with wide powers in 30 provinces covering 76 percent of the population will be incorporated into the existing administration system, after solving which problems and how.
The Local Administration chapter seems as if it was written in the 1990s; as you read it, you would think that the amendment in the Law for Metropolitan Municipalities was not debated at the same Parliament.
The Tenth Plan, as it is, is a document that cannot be implemented, but maybe all the civil servants who are reading it are already saying, “This is not to be implemented anyway.”
Tarhan Erdem is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on July 4. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.