A secure island or a country troubled with problems of democracy
It is amazing to see that a country with heavy debts to IMF only several years ago, can now be shown as a model economy with a couple of billion dollars of debts left and a growing economy despite the merciless global crisis prevailing all over the world.
In Turkish PM’s own words this country is indeed referred to as secure island now and the interesting thing is it has more political dilemmas to work out than economic problems – not to say Turkey would not be affected by another wave of economic crisis.
It is a fact that AK Parti has managed to escalate Turkey to an admirable economic point and put the country in the agenda of the whole world.
“What cost this success has been achieved at” by the ruling party is another much debated question as clearly shown by major economic indicators such as import-export ratio, substantial increase in foreign debts and current account deficit etc.
The major achievements obtained by the ruling party have been increase in GDP, control of inflation and increase in exports (not to forget the bigger increase in imports). A very major critique forwarded in this regard is the inappropriate usage of the revenues obtained from privatization of major assets of the country – such as TELEKOM, PETKIM etc.
This information is provided to remind it is firmly expressed by unbiased int’l experts that despite the bright looking picture of the Turkish economy, it has some fatal weaknesses as well. The most important one is the fact it badly depends on hot money brought into the country by foreigners (stockmarket) meaning this source could evaporate overnight (as feared by some).
THE SITUATION WITH POLITICS & DEMOCRACY
Coming to the political aspect of the performance displayed by Turkey in the recent 10 years, AK Parti government has certainly shown the courage to upset the balances prevailing before they came to power 10 years ago and undertaken some major steps on the way to establishing democracy (advanced as expressed by PM) in this country.
Within this framework, the government has dared to end the military tutelage which had been prevailing for ages and managed to make required legal amendments to enable judiciary to get down to work. In fact, substantial steps have been taken by the judiciary to see to it that responsible people alleged to have prepared coup attempts to overthrow the government account for it before the courts.
So far so good.. However, a very strong impression has been adopted by the public in the meantime that this perfectly “fair” practice has been spoiled (and even abused) by the authorities (meaning the security and the judiciary to include prosecutors) and turned into an operation of “REVENGE” by a specific religious group managed from America which is known to have suffered some hostile practices from the secular group in power (not to mean government only) in the past.
Consequently, the government has started to receive much criticism from secular groups as well as groups with a religious world view (and supporting the government normally). These critiques on top of the ones from the western world have become so strong that the government has had to stop and think again seeing the need to amend the law to regulate the excessively strong power of the so called Specially Authorized Courts, the main body running the operation referred to above.
The government now says “referred judicial bodies as well as prosectors” have overstepped their authorities to cause an indignation among public (and abroad), such as keeping suspects in detainment for too long periods etc.
It is very comforting to see that the government is finally and fully aware of what needs to be done. Furthermore, we hope this could be another major step on the way to establishing an accepted democracy in the country, although it has created main concern within the religious community which is alleged to have a major say within the judiciary.
To recap, although Turkey has managed to paint the picture of a country with a well managed economy, this country has a long way en route to advanced democracy.