BY DAILY SABAH
Economic issues as well as a constitutional amendment regarding the right to wear headscarves are expected to be at the forefront of the agenda of the Cabinet, which will convene under the chairpersonship of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday.
The main topic of the meeting, which will take place at the presidential complex, is expected to be the economy. In this context, the fight against inflation will be a primary focus. Also, the results of the measures taken in combating inflation are expected to be evaluated.
Turkish inflation surged past 85 percent in October, its highest level since 1997, official data showed last week.
Central banks worldwide are raising borrowing costs in efforts to tame soaring consumer prices, but Türkiye has bucked the global trend, with Erdoğan calling higher interest rates his “biggest enemy”.
Last month, Türkiye’s central bank cut its policy rate for a third consecutive time, bringing it down to 10.5 percent from 12 percent.
In addition, it is estimated that the welfare fund, planned to be provided in addition to the increase in wages at the beginning of the year for workers, civil servants and retirees, will be on the agenda of the meeting.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ is expected to make a presentation on the discussions and progress regarding the headscarf regulation.
The presentation is coming as a delegation of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) led by Bozdağ last week visited the parliamentary groups of political parties to consult with them on the planned constitutional amendment on the right to wear headscarves.
The headscarf was once a source of deep discord in Türkiye – its once-powerful secular establishment saw it as a threat to the secular order. But the question ceased to stir controversy after reforms by the AK Party during its 20 years in power.
However, the secularist CHP, a party having long opposed the wearing of headscarves in Parliament and public offices, revived the issue last month with a proposal to enshrine the right with legislation, in an attempt to attract support from conservative voters.
Instead of a bill, the AK Party sought to make constitutional amendments to guarantee the right to wear headscarves once and for all. Raising the stakes, the president said the amendment would also encompass measures to protect the family.
He said a referendum could be called if the bill did not win support from the minimum 360 deputies in the 600-seat Parliament needed for constitutional changes. The AK Party and its nationalist allies have 334 seats.
On the other hand, the fight against terrorism will be another topic on the agenda of the cabinet. At the meeting, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and overcoming the crisis in the grain corridor under the leadership of Türkiye will be discussed. High-level diplomatic visits to Türkiye in close succession will also be discussed, covering hot topics such as the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden, the tension with Greece and the F-16 purchase from the United States.
Türkiye has just hosted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and is expecting a visit by Sweden’s new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Tuesday.
Following the meeting, Erdoğan will make a speech to the nation.