Will 216 pledges fit into one year? They’d better…

Will 216 pledges fit into one year? They’d better…

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has disclosed the government’s three-month, six-month and one-year term projects. The number of chapters adds up to 216. 

When the fact that some of these chapters cover more than one topic, then in the year ahead of us almost every day a reform, a change or a pledge has to be made. 

When we look closer at these 216 chapters, a portion of them (44) can immediately take effect. As a matter of fact, the PM announced them as: “We have started them now.”

They are generally the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) election pledges to be executed by administrative decisions. 

The three-month term changes include fewer than 20 chapters and contain important legal amendments or new laws. For instance the political ethics act will be made from scratch because it is not present in our legislation.

On the other hand, the formation of a severance pay fund or flexible working hours can be done with amendments to existing laws. 

In the three months ahead, hot debates, especially regarding working life, should be expected.

In the six-month term, we see 80 chapters. Until the end of June, parliament is expected to work hard and process numerous legal arrangements. 

In this period, the government wants to proceed with those less controversial parts of justice reform. I take care, on my own behalf, that standards are developed on trial and investigation periods. 

The government, it was announced, will make a new higher education law and at the same time form a higher education quality board. 

As we understand, this points to an order where YÖK, the Higher Education Board, will totally be abolished or its function will be restricted to “increase the quality of those universities which have not yet reached the standard.”

One of the most important targets in this period is the restructuring of personal income tax law and corporate income tax law under one law. Maybe Turkey will switch onto a system which has proved very successful in several countries, one which has a single and low-rate income tax where every citizen over 18 submits an income tax declaration once every year. This change will absolutely contribute to the way democracy is perceived in Turkey. The abolishment of corporate tax on the other hand is a development that may boost foreign investments in Turkey. 

In the one-year plan, however, the most striking issues are hidden. This first item is the lowering of the election threshold. The second is even more important: The political party law will be changed from beginning to end. 

Then relatively tougher topics on justice reform are listed. Public personnel reform is pledged. Some very important new arrangements in education seem to be in the pipeline. 

Another striking issue is the harmonization of the Public Procurement Law with EU legislation. 

There are extremely important chapters which we cannot list here but most of them will create serious public debates.  

Of course, both our country itself and also the region we are located in have the potential to shift the agenda and provide a surprise every day. 

Despite this, the comprehensive program announced by the prime minister earlier in the week will keep us engaged for a whole year. Turkey will enter a positive agenda finally.