COMMENTARY:  What economic measures did main opposition leader Ozel request from Erdogan?  

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to the headquarters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Tuesday, marking his first visit to the CHP’s central office in 18 years.


The visit, part of a recent trend toward rapprochement between Turkey’s two largest parties, followed CHP leader Özgür Özel’s visit to Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters on May 2.


Erdoğan and Özel did not hold a joint press conference after the meeting, and no official statements were made. However, the meeting is seen as a continuation of efforts to reduce political tensions and foster dialogue between the government and opposition parties following the March 31 municipal elections.

This visit is significant as it signals a potential thaw in relations between the AKP and CHP, which have been fierce political rivals for years. It took place against the backdrop of the recent local elections, which saw the CHP emerge victorious after 47 years, relegating the AKP to second place for the first time in 22 years.

Regarding CHP’s view of the economic policy, many issues were reportedly discussed at the summit from minimum wage workers, to pensions to agricultural subsidies.

The first statement after the critical meeting came from the AKP front. AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik stated that it is pleasing that the dialogue environment continues adding, “This positive atmosphere should not be wasted.”


Celik had a strong warning to CHP:

“Our President emphasized that the gains achieved with the Medium Term Program (MTP) and the 12th Development Program will be preserved. He stated that populist attitudes that will harm the program will be avoided. He stated that Minister Şimşek will inform the CHP if desired.”


This means Erdogan will remain steadfastly opposed to a mid-year minimum wage hike and comprehensive overhaul of the pension payments, which would  have burdened the Treasury with unspecified but allegedly unbearable new expenditures, which may have reached “in excess of $10 bn per annum”, according to one source PA Turkey  interviewed.

The first statement from the CHP wing regarding the meeting was made by CHP Spokesperson Deniz Yücel. Yücel said, “I would like to express that we deem  this meeting extremely important for the democracy of our country. The fact that the CHP has opened the channels of dialogue that the government had closed until now is an important step in Turkish political history. Dialogue, consultation and negotiation are indispensable elements of democracy. It will be beneficial to the society and solve the problems.” As CHP, we are ready to contribute to any policy proposal that will improve [human rights] and economic hardship.


The dialogue channel will not deter us from the principled opposition we believe in and from being the voice of the silent majority. No one should have any doubt that we will reach out to everyone who has a problem and oppose harshly measures which are unfair to the working class and retirees. We will continue our determined stance on resolving the economic and social deadlock our country is in.

“Our Chairman brought to the agenda that there should be an interim increase in the minimum wage; that the lowest pension payment ought to be indexed to the minimum wage. Subsidy prices recently announced   should be revisited to address the grievances of tea and grain producers who are crushed under production costs; and that teachers who are not appointed should be brought to the agenda.

On the other hand, responding to AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik’s statement about the meeting, Yücel said, “Contrary to Mr. Ömer Çelik’s statements, we do not think that society is gaining from the economic austerity program.

There have been some advances in the past in favor of a very small and narrow part of the society, but this is not enough. We need welfare enhancing policies for the masses.


“Our Chairman stated that in order to solve the unjust income distribution problem first of all, a system that ensures tax justice should be established. All political parties should come together in the Turkish Grand National Assembly to  work on a new budget. When we came to power, with the tax reform, we would tax less on those who earn less, and more on those who earn more.” “We will eliminate injustice with a system that takes from many to reward the privileged few”.


Turkish press sources


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.