Istanbul, May 28 () - Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has criticized Turkish business leaders for being silent over opposition parties’ “unrealistic” economic promises, speaking a special meeting late on May 25, a source familiar with the gathering has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Economic promises have topped Turkey’s agenda ahead of the June 7 general election, with opposition parties making headline-grabbing economic pledges such as increasing the minimum wage and increasing the living standards of retired people.
“Any opposition party may voice many unrealistic promises … You, as the exporters of our country, have the full right to hear clear comments about minimum wages in terms of the rational economic context. The minimum wage is defined and negotiated by employers and employees on an optimum ground. You know how any populist move to determine this wage may affect our country’s exports negatively” Davutoğlu said during the meeting with business leaders at the home of Kibar Holding Chairman Ali Kibar.
While the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) promises to raise the monthly minimum wage to 1,500 Turkish Liras, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) promises to push it up to 1,400 liras and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) vows to increase it to 1,800 liras. The minimum wage currently stands at 950 liras.
Davutoğlu and several cabinet figures have repeatedly warned employers against a possible surge in employment costs after any hike in the minimum wage.
In a speech on May 10, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci called on businesses, trade unions and bosses to all react against pledges to increase the minimum wage, saying increases would result in job losses.
Speaking on May 25, Davutoğlu also underlined the importance of political stability to maintain macroeconomic stability and invited the businesspeople to voice their problems to be solved, according to the source.
According to the website of business magazine Fortune Turkey, among the business people who attended the meeting were Mustafa Koç, the chairman of Turkey’s largest conglomerate Koç Holding; Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) deputy chairman and Koç Holding board member, Ali Koç; the chairwoman of leading private lender Akbank, Suzan Sabancı Dinçer; the chairman of Fiba Holding, Hüsnü Özyeğin; the chairman of Yıldız Holding, Murat Ülker; the chairman of Ciner Holding, Turgay Ciner; the chairman of the Akfen Group, Hamdi Akın; the founder of MUDO, Mustafa Taviloğlu; the chairman of Doğuş Holding, Ferit Şahenk, and Yandex Turkey CEO, Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ.