Top economist of Turkey’s main opposition praises government

Kemal Dervis former World Bank vice-president and top economist of Turkey's main opposition CHP, praises economic progress of Turkey under AK Party and approaches CHP’s new ‘megacity project’ cautiously

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Kemal Dervis, former World Bank vice-president and the top economist of Turkey’s main opposition party, Republican People’s Party (CHP) has praised the economic progress of the country under the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and was cautious on CHP’s new “megacity project.”

Dervis pledged to become deputy prime minister of Turkey responsible for the economy in a cabinet on March 2015 if the CHP comes to power following the June elections.  

Dervis had led Turkey’s Minister of Economic Affairs between March 2001 and August 2002 when Turkey was facing its worst economic crisis in its modern history after a 22-year career at the World Bank.

Dervis said, “There is no crisis similar to the crisis of 2001 [in Turkey] and there will not be either. Maybe some of my CHP supporter friends will say ‘How would not a crisis happen?’ But I do not see a crisis in front of us,” speaking at CNN Turk’s “Neutral Zone” program on May 25.

Dervis has also praised the management of Turkish Central Bank, current Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey responsible for the economy in the AK Party cabinet, Ali Babacan, and the Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek.

Dervis has criticised the CHP’s stance on the third airport planned to be built in Istanbul by the AK Party governance. “No one in his/her right mind can say ‘The third airport should not be constructed.’ But in our history we have this kind of mentality in the CHP. ‘No bridge, no this, no that,’” he added.

Dervis has also approached cautiously towards the CHP’s new project which is called “the project of the century” by the party that is proposing to create a megacity in the country’s centre populated by 3 million people.

Dervis said, “I find the logic of the project right, but if it could not be executed in a good way, that would now work at all.”

The CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu named the party’s “mega plan” as “Turkey is Centre Project” that has also been a cause of criticism.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticised Kilicdaroglu saying that the first time the statement of “Turkey is Centre” is used by him in his renowned book, “Strategic Depth” about 15 years ago.

Davutoglu stated that Kilicdaroglu and the CHP have basically copied his ideas and the AK Party’s.

Ali Babacan has also not found the CHP project feasible. He said, “The announced project is a fiction,” and has hastily prepared ahead of the upcoming elections in order to serve the party’s populist agenda. The opposition parties’ promises would increase the inflation rates that Turkish Central Bank tries hard to hold steady, he added.

Mehmet Simsek drew attention to the lack of resources of the CHP Project saying that “Kilicdaroglu is used to say ‘Whoever gives a wage raise should explain its resources.”

“But now he has nothing to say about resources of his own party’s project,” he added.

Kilicdaroglu replied the criticism to the project saying that “Nobody including the governing party of Turkey could say the project is wrong.”

“I say ‘I do this,’ they are all asking ‘Where are resources?’ There are resources. I will name them. My word is my word,” he added.

The project aims investment valued at $200 billion in 20 years and promises to employ 2,200,000 people.

The project is a part of the CHP proposals under “A Liveable Turkey” slogan which urges reforms on economics, politics, education, and judiciary.

TRTWorld and agencies