The local elections are now over and it’s time for Turkey to return to its actual problems like the growing economic problems, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said.
He called on the government to focus on long-term and sustainable measures through consultations with all political and economic actors.
“Turkey has left the local elections behind and should speedily come out of this atmosphere. There are serious problems concerning the economy and foreign policy, which have direct impacts on the people. A serious crisis in the economy is being observed. The number of unemployed people has hit 8 million, with a very high youth unemployment rate,” KemalKılıçdaroğlu said at a press conference on April 18 in Ankara.
His remarks came a day after the CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu received his credential as the Istanbul Mayor and ended a 25-year rule of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey’s largest city.
When asked about the AKP’s appeal for the cancellation of Istanbul polls, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “If there are judges at the Supreme Election Board [YSK], I have no concern that polls would be annulled.”
Recalling that the CHP also won Ankara after 25 years and other large metropoles, like İzmir, Adana, Antalya and Mersin, Kılıçdaroğlu said it was a huge success which should not be attributed to the main opposition party but to the peoples living in these cities.
“The Turkish people have shown once again that they want peace and comfort in a Turkeyfree of political tension. ‘Let’s resolve the fundamental problems of our country altogether,’ they demand,” he said.
“One of the reasons of this is the dismissal of eligible officials and bureaucrats from the state. This crisis cannot be solved by bureaucracy appointed by the presidential palace. The second reason is the absence of a development plan. How come a country like Turkey has no viable development plan in the 21st century?” he said.
Short-term measures announced by the government in the recent months have proven to be insufficient to overcome the crisis, the CHP head stated, calling on the government to consult with all political and economic actors in drawing a road map to quell the economic decline.
“We, as the CHP, are ready to provide any sort of assistance and support to the government. They may not endorse everything we say but we offer them our assistance,” he stressed.
Democratic standards must be elevated
Saying economic issues and democracy are intertwined, Kılıçdaroğlu urged that the best way to attract foreign investment is to upgrade the country’s deteriorating democratic and human right standards. “Nobody should fool themselves. No foreign investment will pour in a country where the security of life and property is not under guarantee. We must upgrade our democracy and rule of law not because the European Union or others want us to, but because we need this,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated.
Calls on the YSK
He also touched on the recent decisions by the YSK to not give mandates to mayors who have been elected in some southeastern provinces because they were expelled from civil service through presidential decrees in the wake of the July 2016 coup attempt.
“This is a call to the YSK: You should approve those who won the elections democratically. It was the YSK who had confirmed the eligibility of these people to run for elections. Otherwise, that will be a major shame for our democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“If we safeguard democracy, we should defend the rights of all the people even though we don’t share their views and political ideologies. It’s therefore my duty as the leader of a political party to call on the YSK to correct this mistake,” he added.