Şebnem Turhan – Hürriyet / Istanbul, April 29 () - As a clash over economic promises between the government and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) heated up with fresh remarks from both parties, Selin Sayek Böke, a deputy leader of the CHP, has said the state-run Turkish Housing Development Agency (TOKİ) has obviously been unsuccessful for the past 12 years.
“TOKİ could not fulfill its tasks for the past 12 years” said Böke. The state-run agency is the largest property developer in the country and has helped the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) raise votes as it also bids to provide cheap mortgages to the poor. TOKİ has also worked to develop large and luxurious construction projects.
However, the agency has turned into a body of economic benefit, as it failed to reduce the 24 percent of housing on rents even one point in the past 12 years, Böke argued.
“There is an obvious risk in the luxury section of the real estate market” she said, warning of a property bubble that could burst and trigger economic burdens, as seen in Spain and Portugal.
Böke was a leading figure in the group that prepared the CHP’s election manifesto, which included numerous economic promises, especially for the low and middle income sections of the population.
Böke said she was happy with the recent clash between the CHP and the AKP over the former’s election promises, which the ruling party argued could not be implemented without an influx of resources.
“This shows that we are on the right path” she said. “We have managed to have even Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan break his silence.”
Böke said she has observed that Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek is making rough calculations in his arguments over the financing of the CHP’s projects, which include additional salaries to pensioners, a higher minimum wage and cheaper fuel for farmers.
She argued the funds which were not included in the budget today could generate 20 billion Turkish Liras, which is a strong resource and would increase transparency.
Şimşek says the CHP’s projects would widen both the budget gap and the current account deficit.
Böke, a candidate from the Aegean province of İzmir, said she was excited to work with former deputy prime minister and renowned economist Kemal Derviş if the party wins the elections.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said earlier that Derviş was ready to be a part of the cabinet after the June 7 elections if his party emerges victorious.