AKP hails economy at end of budget debate

AKP hails economy at end of budget debate

AKP hails economy at end of budget debate

Ruling AKP deputy parliamentary group chair Nurettin Canikli (C) rejects opposition parties’ criticism over the budgetary expenditure for 2013. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Yesterday’s closing session of the 10-day-long debates on Turkey’s 2013 budget offered an opportunity to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to lavishly praise the country’s economic boom during its 10 year governing tenure.

“The government has introduced unprecedented services to this country under the rule of the AKP over the last 10 years. The economy has grown at an average of 5.3 percent over the last decade, even though the world is experiencing the worst economic crisis of the century and Turkey has witnessed serious political turmoil such as the closure case and the e-memorandum,” AKP deputy parliamentary group chair Nurettin Canikli said during closing parliamentary debates on the 2013 budget.

The 2013 budget was set to be approved at Parliament after Daily News went to print. Turkey’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an estimated 1.57 trillion Turkish Liras, with a 4 percent growth rate and 5.3 percent inflation, according to the 2012 budget. Export revenue is estimated $158 billion with import revenue at $253 billion.

The budgetary expenditure for 2013 is estimated at 444 billion liras, while revenues are at nearly 411 billion liras. The budget deficit is thus estimated at about 33 billion liras.

During yesterday’s debates, Canikli also responded to criticism that government was moving away from accountability and transparency. The government has come under fire for the Court of Accounts failing to send audit reports of state institutions’ 2011 expenditures to Parliament, a first in Turkish history. The court was supposed to examine the expenditures and submit the reports to Parliament before budget debates began, but it was unable to complete the reports on time.

Fraud claim ‘irrelevant’

Canikli said the reports that were not submitted to Parliament were assessment reports that did not affect the basis of budget debates at Parliament. “Audit reports examining the legality of expenditures were submitted to Parliament,” he said.

The opposition’s criticism over government corruption is also irrelevant, according to Canikli. Recalling that Turkey ranked 54th in Transparency International’s 2012 global corruption list, seven steps forward compared to 2011, Canikli said: “If there had been corruption in Turkey, could we have witnessed such a development?”

During the budget debate, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy parliamentary group chair İdris Baluken described the 2013 budget as “illegitimate” and alleged that the government was funding armed rebels in Syria. “Funding the civil war by transferring money from the discretionary fund is against the principle of budget-making. The government is breaching transparency by transferring money to a war that’s unrelated to us,” he said.