Ministers’ dispute under control: PM

Ministers’ dispute under control: PM

Ministers’ dispute under control: PM

TÜSİAD President Ümit Boyner says she is not scared by the prime minister. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late on Sept. 26 that he was in control of the Cabinet, while commenting on an apparent recent split of opinion among ministers on whether to cool down or boost the economy.

“I am at the wheelhouse,” Erdoğan said, speaking during an interview on a private broadcaster.
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek warned earlier this week of the need to take cautious steps in the economy, with Babacan saying: “the road is crooked and foggy. We cannot step on the gas.”

However, this was contradicted by Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan on Sept. 25, when he said: “If the driver is trained in advanced safe driving then it is not a problem.”

Turkey is struggling to reach its 4 percent growth target this year, with Cabinet ministers admitting that the year-end figure may well fall short.

Yesterday, Babacan said at an Istanbul meeting that a short term boom in economy and a widening in the loan volume would result in a “game of happiness,” but it also had significant consequences.

In his televised interview, Erdoğan spoke of his desire to see lower interest rates: “This rate should fall … Of course, the Central Bank holds the authorization [on interest rates]. But since it has become something persistent, hitting the brake might be disturbing.”

The Central Bank narrowed its interest rate corridor last week, pushing the upper end 1.5 points to 9.5 percent, a move that signals a further easing in the monetary policy, according to a number of economists.

It was natural to either hit the brake or the gas pedal, but the skill was in finding a balance, Erdoğan said.

Commenting on a recent statement by Ümit Boyner, the head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), who said she was not scared by the prime minister, Erdoğan said: “I would not scare a lady who heads TÜSİAD, I would not be so rude. But if they are doing wrong they will get a response. I would at least boycott them.”

TUSİAD should have engage itself in completely different endeavors, Erdoğan said, recalling his call to the business body to take part in the production of the country’s first domestic car. He said the organization was resisting the idea.

Member companies of TÜİSAD pay 85 percent of total national taxes but they should still strive to increase this, he said.

Boyner had earlier said that she was concerned over a “one man” situation developing in the government, in a reference to Erdoğan.