Istanbul, Oct 16 () - The head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), the country’s leading business group, has said delicate domestic and global conditions mean that there is no time to waste in passing urgent economic reforms.
“We reminded our leaders and the public straight after the June 7 election that we have a list of necessary reforms and this was urgent” said TÜSİAD chair Cansen Başaran Symes, opening an Istanbul event during which the group hosted Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
“We have no more patience to wait for the reforms on that list given today’s Turkey and given the current global conditions” Başaran Symes added.
The June 7 elections failed to produce a one-party or coalition government, ultimately leading the country to a repeat election on Nov. 1.
“We need the rapid formation of a government after the November election and a focus on reform programs that will bring peace, security and welfare to the country. We need these urgently” the TÜSİAD head said.
After the inconclusive June 7 election, Başaran Symes said that “rather than looking at the shape of government or who will be in it, we look at its scope and power.”
“Naturally, [a coalition between] the two biggest parties will be stronger” she said on June 12, referring to the formation of a government between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the CHP, who each received the most votes in the June 7 parliamentary election but were ultimately unable to form a coalition.
“We believe that the government should open up the basic points of Turkey’s investment environment and support qualified growth,” she added at the time.
Commenting on the Oct. 10 twin bomb attack in Ankara, Başaran Symes said precautions for the safety of citizens and finding out who was guilty for the blasts was vital.
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, for his party, repeated his party’s vow to increase the minimum wage to 1,500 Turkish Liras. He denied that this would put an extra burden on top bosses.
“We will lift every obstacle in front of you. You just have to produce, invest,” he said.
The task of the politicians is to improve the country’s ability to compete globally, Kılıçdaroğlu said, expressing concerns that Turkey was currently experiencing a classic “middle-income” and “middle-technology trap.”
The CHP head suggested that the country could consider a shift in its incentive programs in order to benefit from high technology users and those who regularly pay their taxes and insurance premiums.
He also promised to protect the full independence of the Central Bank, a much-debated issue with the government constantly pushing the Bank to cut interest rates.
TÜSİAD has planned a serious of sessions with party leaders to take place ahead of the Nov. 1 election.