Turkey’s top boss warns that polarization may hinder reforms

Turkey’s top boss warns that polarization may hinder reforms

Turkey’s top boss warns that polarization may hinder reforms

Both the government and the opposition accuse each other of fueling polarization in Turkey.

The head of Turkey’s largest business organization has warned that “polarization” in Turkey might thwart progress in much-needed economic reforms, pledging the business world’s support for politicians in the bid to end social tension.

“We think we won’t be able to move forward in reform fields that require serious consensus, like the [Kurdish] resolution process or the new Constitution, if we can’t make progress in the elimination of the polarization,” Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Chairman Haluk Dinçer said, speaking at his organization’s High Consultation Council meeting on Sept. 18.

Particularly addressing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had also delivered a speech as part of the same event, Dinçer stressed that the business world was highly concerned about “the severe polarization that might have developed with the contribution of all of us.”

“At this point, my dear president, as the first president elected by the people, we believe you will have a large role in the elimination of polarization. We believe you can lead the establishment of a new social consensus among state institutions, political parties and all parts of society with a conciliatory attitude, only focusing on future targets,” he said.

The TÜSİAD chairman also reiterated his organization’s call for acceleration of efforts in several key areas, including judicial reforms, the writing of a new Constitution, and the European Union accession bid.

Erdoğan’s attendance at the meeting was seen by many as possibly marking a thaw in the chilly relations between himself and TÜSİAD.

The president has repeatedly urged TÜSİAD “to mind its own business” after the business group criticized his government over issues related to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.