Turkey’s main opposition CHP reveals priorities of its economic program
Güneş Kömürcüler - ISTANBUL
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) revealed the main priorities of its economic plan in a press meeting on Jan. 5, during which it also demanded an end of state of emergency rule in the country to encourage foreign direct investment.
“Ensuring a much fairer distribution of wealth, enhancing development country-wide that also includes healthy growth and boosts environmentally friendly projects will be our three main economic priorities … Our main aim is to enable our people to have much better living conditions through a fairer wealth distribution,” CHP Deputy Chair Aykut Erdoğdu said at the meeting in Istanbul.
Erdoğdu noted that increasing wages and salaries would be key for the party in order to achieve fairer wealth distribution.
“In addition to raising workers’ living conditions, the maintenance of democratic standards is also crucial” he said.
Erdoğdu stressed the importance of combining the “Industry 4.0 revolution” with a labor-centered policy, which the CHP called “Labor 4.0.” He also said various policies to raise Turkey’s democratic standards should be prioritized in tandem, which he called “Democracy 4.0.”
On the continued migration from rural to urban areas, with its attendant pressures on services and infrastructure, Erdoğdu said a deliberate development strategy should be pursued and less emphasis should be placed on the construction sector.
CHP officials said the party will continue to stress the importance of the education system, saying that an economy growing and developing in a healthy manner is impossible without a highly qualified labor force.
“A significant boost in Turkey’s educational policy will play a key role in our economic program. Our aim is to make Turkey’s educational system free of charge, high quality, and accessible for everyone,” Erdoğdu said. He noted that recent government policies had damaged Turkey’s education system, particularly citing the “abnormal increase” in the number of imam-hatip religious schools.
Lale Karabıyık, the CHP’s deputy chair in charge of education, stated that a “national educational council” must be established and the country’s education system should be “free of political ambitions.”
‘State of emergency must be abolished’
The ongoing state of emergency, declared shortly after the July 2016 coup attempt, must be brought to an end in order to give more confidence to foreign direct investors, the CHP also said.
“As long as state of emergency conditions remain, nothing can go well for our economy. It is not possible for Turkey to increase wages or lure investments in this climate. It is also not possible to decrease inflation or unemployment rates, which have all recently hit their highest levels in years. Turkey needs $210 billion in foreign funds on an annual basis in order to be functional, but it is impossible for Turkey to reach these levels under state of emergency conditions,” Erdoğdu said, adding that even the inflation rate could start to decline soon after the state of emergency is abolished.
Turkey must also change its tax system in order to increase its financial resources, Karabıyık noted, warning about skyrocketing private debt.
“While the tax burden per capita was around $600 in 2002, this has risen to $1,945 today, most of which is due to indirect taxes … We have also seen a huge increase in household debts,” she said.