Chambers of industry and commerce and a chamber of tradesmen and artisans have expressed their appreciation for the government’s fourth incentive package, saying the government considered many important details when preparing it. I discussed the issue with academics, politicians with economic expertise, representatives of these chambers and businessmen.
They all agree that this is the most comprehensive incentive package to be offered in the history of the republic. While some underline that the package will help reduce Turkey’s current account deficit (CAD), others assert that it will greatly contribute to the settlement of the Kurdish issue.
One of the most important comments is that the incentive package will allow Turkey to match its record growth rate in 2011 and to achieve the highest growth rate in the world by 2013. I asked Bülent Gedikli, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in charge of economic policy, what he thinks about this comment. Expressing his gladness at hearing such positive expectations for the incentive package, Gedikli said: “The government has put Turkey into a safe, sustainable and stable growth process.
Thanks to the positive medium-term impacts of the incentive package, the year 2013 will be a very important year. I can safely assure you that Turkey will be among the countries show rapid growth in 2013.” Thanks to urban transformation projects, the year 2013 will see great opportunities for the Turkish construction sector.
Moreover, it will be an important preparation period for the 2014 presidential and municipal elections. Thus, the CAD and unemployment and inflation rates will be closely followed by both the general public and investors. Improvements will also change the attitudes of credit rating agencies towards Turkey, and there will be no excuse for delaying a rise in Turkey’s rating.
In terms of the democratic initiative and the terrorism issue, 2013 will be an important year. The terrorist attacks on military outposts, exploding mines on highways and security weaknesses that we experienced in cities and in rural areas negatively affected the outlook of the Kurdish issue in 2011. If these events are not repeated in the next six months, the year 2013 will bring different expectations. When announcing the incentive package, Prime Minister Erdoğan put a special emphasis on the current account deficit and the terrorism issue. “I believe that if there were not any terrorist activity in the eastern and southeastern Anatolian regions, these regions would swiftly develop. However, the terrorist organization is betraying the people of those regions,” he said. Now, the response of the people in the region who want the bloodshed to stop and to heed this call is important. It is expected that irrigation projects developed within the framework of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) will be completed to a large extent by the end of 2012. These projects will improve people’s morale and create job opportunities in the region. Economist Zeki Şahin, a professor at the University of Turkish Aeronautical Association, has pointed out that the incentive package will increase the interest of international investors in Turkey. He added: “Turkey is already becoming a safe port in the global economy. Now, the incentive package offers all investors a golden opportunity.”
US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance (MAC) Michael C. Camuñez was in Ankara when the fourth economic incentive package was announced on April 5. He talked about the interest of US companies in Turkey and answered our questions. It seems that the incentive package will have a positive impact on the planned visits of US Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and US Trade Representative Ron Kırk in June and a visit by US businessmen scheduled for the end of the 2012. Because the package places special importance on strategic investment in the defense, aviation and aerospace industries, US companies are planning to invest. In 2013, Turkey will break many records.
First there were debates about whether retired general and former President Kenan Evren and former Commander of the Air Forces Tahsin Şahinkaya -- the two surviving leaders of the bloody 1980 coup -- could be tried or not. After the Sept. 12 coup trial began last Wednesday, debates focused on people and institutions that want to intervene in the trial.
One of the main topics of the debates surrounding the referendum of June 12, 2010 was penalizing coup perpetrators. Ironically enough, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which have led a “no” campaign for the referendum by claiming coup perpetrators cannot be penalized, applied to the court in order to become co-plaintiffs in the Sept. 12 coup trial.
The recent statements of Süleyman Demirel -- who was overthrown as prime minister during the coup -- explaining why he did not seek co-plaintiff status in the case because he had already settled accounts with the coup by being elected as prime minister and president not only explains why he did not want to be co-plaintiff in the Sept. 12 coup trial but also reflects his vision, mission and understanding of democracy.
Although they became co-plaintiffs in the trial, they still claim it is only an illusion.
The parliamentary speaker and head of the parliamentary Constitutional Consensus Commission Cemil Çiçek stated: “It is a contradiction that while the coup perpetrators are being tried, the constitution that they prepared is in effect in Turkey.”
Fortunately, Evren and Şahinkaya were put on trial, otherwise these ironies and contradictions would not have been revealed. The trial has also started another process: Article 35 of the Internal Service Code of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will be amended, and there will be several legal amendments.
For instance, a research commission will be set up in Parliament this week to investigate coups and memorandums.
Despite claims that it is an “illusion” and “symbolic,” the Sept. 12 coup trial will play an important role in ending the era of coups.