Şimşek: Those with the people to say ‘yes’ in referendum

August 18, 2010, Wednesday/ 16:56:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has lauded the overwhelming and growing support from the business world for the constitutional amendments that will be voted in a referendum on Sept.12 and said businessmen who are in touch with the people are supportive of the changes.

Speaking at a fast-breaking dinner organized by Free Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (HÜRSİAD) in Ankara on Monday, Şimşek commended HÜRSİAD and a number of other leading representatives of Turkey’s business world for their decision to cast a “yes” vote at the upcoming referendum, while also criticizing business groups of the country’s elite who failed to extend support for the proposed constitutional amendments, seen to be historic by many, including the European Union to which Turkey has aspired to join for so long.

So far the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) and the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) as well as HÜRSİAD have said they will vote in favor of the package proposed by the government to improve democracy, better respect for human rights and expand freedoms in Turkey.

“Those who benefited the most, increased their companies’ value the most and gained the most are silent and cowering, but those who are in touch with our people are showing an honorable stand. I congratulate MÜSİAD, HÜRSİAD and TUSKON and all those whose names I fail to mention here for their honorable stand,” Şimşek said.

HÜRSİAD Chairman Rahmi Bıyık added that the reform package is a supra-political national matter and is in fact a “historic opportunity” that should not be missed.

Freedoms to fuel GDP growth

Minister Şimşek also argued that if citizens are provided with more liberties, a better democracy and a well-functioning justice system, Turkey’s economic growth will no longer be obstructed and the country will become Europe’s third-largest economy within four decades the latest. “Then it is a guarantee that gross domestic product [GDP] per capita in the country will easily become $60,000 and the GDP will be $6 trillion by 2040-2050. Turkey will then be the third largest economy in Europe after the UK and Russia, but there are prerequisites for this. It is not possible to realize this with this mentality and the current Constitution,” he stated, remarking that they have tripled GDP per capita to $10,000 since late 2002.

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