Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has decided to switch into policy attack mode perceiving a turnaround in his re-election fortunes, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday, citing a decision taken at the headquarters of his governing party late last month.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to introduce a series of measures including broadening the scope of welfare benefits and providing more Treasury-backed loans to small and medium-sized businesses, Diken said. Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanık and Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati have mentioned the plans in recent days.
On Aug 23, Erdoğan and his top political allies gathered at the headquarters of the AKP for an extraordinary meeting to map out an election campaign strategy — Turkey is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by June next year.
At the meeting, party members presented opinion poll data to Erdoğan showing a halt in the loss of support for his party, Diken said. He then gave instructions to party officials to jockey into position for the looming elections, it said.
The Ministry of Family and Social Services has started to recruit temporary staff for home visits to 26 million households as part of introducing the new welfare benefits, Diken reported previously. Minister Yanık later confirmed the report, the news website said.
Nebati announced the government’s plans for new low-cost loans to SMEs under the Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF) this week. He said they would be introduced once technical work was complete. Details of the welfare benefits will be announced following a cabinet meeting in October, Diken reported.
Erdoğan’s government plans to both widen the welfare benefits and increase the amounts paid, according to NTV television. New benefits will include providing cash to families to allow children to extend their education.
The government will also provide more support to help people pay their energy bills. The number of people benefiting will increase, as will the amount paid, Diken said.