The economic bill of the corruption
It looks as if the storm caused by the December 17 corruption operation is here to stay. We hear of a new claim relating to the scandal every day, a new accusation against the names involved in the incident.
However, the public has not yet learned the source of the huge amount of money found in shoe boxes in the home of a bank general manager or why a son of a cabinet minister has six money cases in his home.
Different numbers circulating concerning the economic bill of the corruption operation are another dimension of the incident.
According to the figure given by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan on the last day of the year, the 10-day (Dec. 17 – Dec. 27) bill of the corruption operation that shook Turkey was 49.3 billion dollars.
According to Babacan, the value of the publicly-traded companies had gone down 49.3 billion dollars in 10 days. We have seen that the figure in ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) report is 105 billion dollars.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who met journalists at Dolmabahçe Palace before departing for Japan defined the corruption operation as a “global assassination.” The figure he pronounced was 120 billion dollars.
The figure we heard from main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has been 247 billion Turkish Liras.
According to the opposition leader, with this much money, 2,830,000 unemployed people could have been hired for eight years at minimum wage; 30 Marmarays could have been built; six GAPs (Southeast Anatolia Project) could have been finished and 5,636 F-16 planes could have been purchased.
I asked Deputy Chair of CHP and Istanbul deputy Umut Oran where this figure of 247 billion liras has come from. He told me that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has taken this figure from the indictment prepared for Halk Bank.
If we leave aside the contradicting figures and the rise in the foreign exchange rate, I think the real problem is that the “environment of confidence” for the investor has been shaken.
According to the German Der Spiegel magazine’s latest issue, foreign investors have started engaging in a trend of withdrawing from Turkey and if this withdrawal continued, then an economic crisis was at the door. Head of Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Muharrem Yılmaz pointed out to the “environment of confidence.”
In an interview published over the weekend, Yılmaz said the date December 17 was a benchmark on the way to “clean politics.” He also said economic performance was an inevitable part of democratic performance.
According to the head of TÜSİAD, the growth between 3 percent and 5 percent estimated for the year 2014 is at risk because the environment of confidence was lost.
Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek must have been concerned with the shake of the “environment of confidence” because we heard that he has spoken to 300 investors from the Unites States, Europe and Asia over a teleconference the other day. It is quite a creative and interesting method to have a dialogue with foreign investors through teleconference and trying to persuade them.
Mehmet Şimşek has told the investors that political stability would continue as well as healthy economic policies and that concerns related to Turkey should not be exaggerated.
Even though I highly appreciate Mehmet Şimşek’s personal efforts, I do think this will be adequate.
On the road to reducing those concerns related to the future of the economy and providing the environment of confidence, an enormous mission falls to the government which is sheltering behind “global conspiracy” claims.