Fabulous pension…

Fabulous pension…

While the entire nation was busy deploring a handful of French deputies for adopting a law criminalizing denial of the alleged Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire in 1915, the Turkish
Parliament approved a draft pension law sponsored by all four parliamentary groups.

The law provides parliamentarians a fabulous pension of around 8,000 Turkish Lira (around 3000 euro) a month in a country where average pension is around 900 to 1100 liras (around 400 to 500 euro). Retired politicians currently receive around 3,500 lira (around 1,500 euro) pensions.

It was indeed a cunning move. While the entire nation was busy yelling at the French for the absurd undertaking of the little man of the Elyse Palace because of his political greed, under the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) all four parties dumped their differences on other issues and sponsored the bill in a rare show of solidarity. At the last minute, however, opposition parties realized the great sin they were sharing with the AKP and did not vote on the draft. Yet, a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy said he was so broke he could not eat meat for the past week and lent his support to the AKP and the bill was adopted with one CHP and 276 AKP votes.

In regulating the pension pay of retired deputies, one would assume current deputies are not providing themselves a fabulous pay…Wrong. Only 222 deputies are too young to get pension pay.
Thus, with the latest increase, former Parliament speakers will receive around 21,000 liras monthly pay (pension plus salary) while ordinary deputies also receiving pension pay will now earn a cumulative income of around 19,000 liras per month. Plus, those 222 deputies under the pension age will have the right to get the fabulous pension pay once they complete the minimum retirement requirements.

It is so unfortunate that while they adopted the fabulous pension law, the deputies forgot that for the past eight years the much-pledged harmonization of pension payments issue could not reach the Parliament floor. If and when that law is adopted, pensioners in this country will not receive fabulous pensions, but their meager pension payment will be improved by a few hundred liras which would indeed mean a lot for the masses who live under the poverty line in this country of extravagant politicians.

Sports and Youth Minister Suat Kılıç defended his party and the government on social media sites. It was indeed a difficult job but for some reason nowadays Kılıç has been volunteering for such difficult jobs.

Since the fabulous pension law was adopted last week President Abdullah Gül’s unofficial web page has been bombarded with citizens’ protest messages. Interesting enough, the president’s team has not censored the messages and has run them intact. The president must be confused since by allowing the protesting messages to appear on his site he will most probably enrage the absolute ruler of the country, the “Almighty” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The president has very little power on the issue. He may return the bill to Parliament for a second review. Yet, as there appears to be a “holy alliance” in Parliament and even though after public outcry the CHP announced the deputy that voted for the resolution and those deputies who sponsored it would be sent to the disciplinary board, at the end of the day as the issue is directly related to their own pockets. Deputies will likely send back the bill to President Gül, who has no option but to approve it into law if Parliament sends it back intact.

It’s not that Turkish deputies don’t deserve such a pay, but in a country with such an acute poverty problem, arranging such a high pension for themselves but not aiding the general pension system can only be called a deplorable action, to say the least.