New omnibus bill includes mass privatization article, opposition objects
Hacer Boyacıoğlu – ANKARAThe Turkish parliament’s budget commission has passed an omnibus bill which includes an article enabling the privatization of more than 100 state institutions, including public theaters, the Turkish Historical Society and the Turkish Language Society, some of which are regarded as pillars of public institutions in modern Turkey.
The 35th article within the draft bill, the law will enable over 100 public institution to transfer their properties and shares to Turkey’s Privatization Administration and specifies which institutions would be included within the scope of privatization, however it did not introduce any regulation on privately-funded institutions, said Privatization Administration Legal Advisor Mehmet Kilci, adding that if these privately-funded institutions demanded it, then their demanded property would be able to go through a privatization as well.
Kilci said some of the institutions that fell under the 35th article’s jurisdiction included: The Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ), the Atatürk Cultural Center, the Coastal Security General Directorate, the National Lottery General Directorate, the Spor Toto General Directorate, the Turkish Radio and Television Association (TRT), the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), the State Airports Authority, the Turkish Coal Mine General Directorate, the Higher Education Credit and Hostels Institution, the Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration, the Public Theaters General Directorate, the Public Opera and Ballet General Directorate and the Public Water Works General Directorate.
The list also included some high budget institutions such as the Defense Industry Undersecretariat, the Post Office Department (PTT), provincial banks and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK).
The move however was met with raised eyebrows from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with their deputies claiming that Privatization Administration was trying to take a very wide sphere of authority with the article.
“You will take a very wide sphere under the scope of privatization to an extent that has not been undertaken by any previous legislator and during any term of a government. You are taking the right to purchase all of the state. This is against the constitution. With this clause all of the state can be sold,” said CHP deputy Aykut Erdoğdu.