Economic crisis result of AKP policies: CHP leader

Economic crisis result of AKP policies: CHP leader

Economic crisis result of AKP policies: CHP leader

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) policies have driven Turkey to an economic crisis, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, stressing the recent tension between the U.S. and Turkey was “just a small fragment of a wider problem.”

“The crisis was already there. It has nothing to do with the American pastor,” Kılıçdaroğlu said Aug. 29 before a CHP assembly meeting.

Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, whose arrest in Turkey has been at the heart of strained ties between the two NATO allies. In anger over the pastor’s arrest, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap “large sanctions” on Turkey late July and doubled tariffs on Turkish imports.

Trump’s move led to the Turkish Lira to drop to historic lows against the greenback.

Kılıçdaroğlu stressed the recent currency crisis in Turkey was the result of the AKP’s economic growth policies, criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been blaming “foreign powers” for attacking the Turkish economy.

Kılıçdaroğlu accused the AKP government of years-long cronyism, saying big contracts were given specifically to pro-government businesses during their rule. “Was it the foreign circles that told you to give all big contracts based on the U.S. dollar?” the CHP leader said.

“You gave contracts in dollars. Was it the foreign powers that told you to tell business owners to generate revenue in dollars?” he added.

“Was it the foreign powers that told you to make the state a guarantor for the pro-government businesses’ foreign debts of their $123 billion worth projects? Was it the foreign powers that told companies that don’t have any revenue in foreign currencies to be in debt in a foreign currency?” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu urged the government to convene the Economic and Social Council of Turkey, which gathers the government, civil society and unions, to come up with an economic plan.

“The council which should be convened every three months hasn’t convened since 2009. It is a constitutional obligation,” he said.

The advisory body was founded in 2001 with aims to form an economic planning mechanism that gathers government officials, bureaucracy, business circles, and employer and labor unions. The council last held a meeting in 2009.