Turkish PM and main opposition head row over bonus promises
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said that he would resign from the prime ministry and the CHP’s chairman posts while also quitting politics if he fails to fulfill the commitments. AA PhotoPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu have traded barbs over the latter’s promise to distribute bonuses to pensioners if he is elected prime minister.
The row between Davutoğlu and Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kılıçdaroğlu started when the latter promised two bonuses to pensioners every year starting from this year if he is elected as the new prime minister in the June 7 elections.
“I hereby declare that I will make all the legal amendments ready within one month [after the elections] for bonuses to be given to pensioners in each of the religious holidays [Eid el-Fitr and Eid al-Adha] … and will continue the distribution of bonuses worth two monthly salaries every year during the time I stay as prime minister,” said Kılıçdaroğlu while addressing his party members in his weekly parliamentary speech on March 24, while holding a notarial commitment letter.
Kılıçdaroğlu added that he would resign from the prime ministry and the CHP’s chairman posts while also quitting politics if he fails to fulfill the commitments.
Davutoğlu responded to the promises, saying it was easy for Kılıçdaroğlu to say he would pay bonuses as he had not worked to save the reserves at the Treasury.
“Of course it is easy for Kılıçdaroğlu. He did not save the money in the Treasury’s reserves. Kılıçdaroğlu wants to come to power and distribute the money the government of 12 years, which has tried to make use of all of the country’s resources, in just four months,” said Davutoğlu in a speech during a visit to the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) on March 25.
Davutoğlu said the public should not fall for such populist elections campaign words, just like in the 1990s. “Our nation’s memory is not that short-termed,” said Davutoğlu, adding that if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had not based the country’s economy on such a firm foundation, then Kılıçdaroğlu could not have given such promises.
“Kılıçdaroğlu is making these propositions because he will never rise to become [the prime minister]. If we accidentally give Kılıçdaroğlu this chance for four minutes and he does what he has promised, then a government like the AKP would need to come and fix all that he will have done,” said Davutoğlu.
Davutoğlu said an additional budget deficit worth 25 billion Turkish Liras would form if Kılıçdaroğlu does what he has promised, adding that the money would be stolen from the future of the country’s children.
The war of words continued as Kılıçdaroğlu responded back from the western province of Denizli, which he was visiting March 25, asking why there was money for the controversial, ultra-luxurious and costly new presidential palace, dubbed the “AK palace” in reference to the AKP, for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and no money for pensioners.
“There is money when it comes to the illegal palace and no money when it comes to pensioners … There exists money for pensioners in this country. The Turkish Republic is richer than [Davutoğlu] thinks,” said Kılıçdaroğlu. “We are a candidate to govern Turkey.”