Budget debates start in Parliament today

Budget debates start in Parliament today

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Budget debates start in Parliament today

Parliament’s udget debates are usually a scene of barb exchanges between the ruling party and the opposition. AA photo

The 10-day long budget debate at Parliament will begin today, with deliberations over the 2013 Central Governance Budget Law by the ruling and opposition parties at the General Assembly.

According to today’s schedule, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek will first introduce the 2013 budget.
The floor will then be opened to deputy parliamentary group chairs of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP); main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu; Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli; and Peace and Democracy Party co-chair Gülten Kışanak.

Following these speeches, on behalf of the government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will deliver a speech in which he will respond to criticism by the opposition parties.

Barb exchanges

Budget debates are usually a scene of barb exchanges between the ruling party and the opposition and this year is not expected to be an exception.

In a sign of serious preparedness for his speech, Prime Minister Erdoğan held a meeting with some members of his Cabinet over the weekend.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ; Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin; Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik; Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı; Science, Technology and Industry Minister Nihat Ergün; Finance Minister Şimşek; Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan; and Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz attended the meeting at the AKP headquarters.

In his speech, Erdoğan is expected to focus on Turkey’s economic boom, a success story that defies the commercial gloom across much of Europe.

In response, the opposition is likely to highlight the discrepancy among different segments of the society which exists despite the country’s fast economic growth.

In 2011, when Turkey was the fastest growing economy in Europe, enjoying an expansion of 8.5 percent, the richest 20 percent of Turkey’s 74 million population accounted for almost half the national income. The poorest 20 percent had just 6 percent.

Turkey ranks as the third highest economy among 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on a scale of income inequality.

The government, led since 2002 by the AKP, defends its record. It points to the fact that the unemployment rate is down from a peak of 14 percent in 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, members of Parliament will continue work on the budget until Dec. 20, including official holidays. Along this period of time, in a bid to raise efficiency of work by the lawmakers, visitors will not be allowed to Parliament.