CHP, government debate grows over economy

CHP, government debate grows over economy

CHP, government debate grows over economy

AFP Photo

Turkey’s main opposition and the government are continuing to lock horns over the former’s campaign economic plans, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) calling them nothing but “empty promises.”

“When you make commitments with indefinite sources, then those masses who assume that they have been taking advantage of those commitments will pay the highest price. Now, we better understand why he [Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu] talked to Kemal Derviş – before all of these things. This is because, he will first empty the treasury which we stored, and then will call Kemal Derviş. Together with him, he will make the calculation on how we will beg before the IMF,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said April 21.

The Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) election manifesto was read out by Kılıçdaroğlu at a grand gathering on April 19. Yet, the issue concerning Derviş, a former U.N. Development Program chief and well-known economist, dates back to late March.

At the time, at a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, Derviş promised to join the CHP and serve as deputy prime minister responsible for economics if the social democrats come to power.

“When we look at [the CHP’s manifesto], when a significant part of it is reviewed article by article, it consists of projects that we earlier carried out, particularly on the issue of social assistance,” Davutoğlu said at the Sector Economy Summit held by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

On April 19, having announced his party’s manifesto under the title of “A Livable Turkey” and introduced his parliamentary candidates, Kılıçdaroğlu also outlined a strategy to address the problems of the country’s 17 million poor people and prioritize turning the country into a first-class democracy. 

Since then, a hot debate between the CHP and the AKP over feasibility of the former’s plans has been continuing, with a considerable number of observers maintaining that it was a rare moment in which the CHP which set the agenda, rather than the AKP or its founding leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

On April 20, Kılıçdaroğlu called for Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek to discuss the details of the CHP’s economic plans and any financial issues after Şimşek said earlier in the same day that he would vote for his AKP government’s rival CHP if it could prove its ability to find the financial resources for Kılıçdaroğlu’s electoral promises. 

Şimşek responded to the call affirmatively on April 21, saying he was ready to discuss the details of the electoral economic program, which he has found unrealistic, with Kılıçdaroğlu on any platform. 

“I am ready to discuss any financial issue with the head of the CHP, especially the details of their electoral promises,” Şimşek said on April 21 in a TV interview on Kanal 24. 

"The CHP just makes empty promises. We have increased the opportunities for the minimum wage and we want to increase them more. If the CHP tries to realize its promises about them, either they will lose their jobs or become informal workers,” he said. 

The CHP said the minimum wage will be increased to 1,500 Turkish Liras if the party wins the coming elections and governs the country. 

Şimşek claimed the makers of the plan were far removed from reality and were not aware of Turkey’s financial realities. He said the CHP needed to understand finances more, claiming the country saw one of its best budget performances during his ministerial term.