In Turkey, it has become a reflex to take sides with every group that demands something from the state and forces the state to meet those demands. However, society is not a homogenous whole in the economic sense and there are conflicting interests -- the demands of one group may be in direct conflict with those of another.
We witnessed the latest manifestation of this during the negotiations between civil servants’ unions and the government over a planned salary increase. Almost everyone sided with civil servants and against the “close-fisted” state. However, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek provided quite striking statistics. He pointed out that the average monthly salary increase since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) assumed office was 228 percent. But the information provided by Şimşek fell on deaf ears. What are the reasons for these people, who would split hairs when making their own budgets, opting to fritter away the state’s resources? Perhaps they are unable to realize that the money the state is distributing is actually theirs, indicating a lack of awareness about our tax-related duties.