Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday announced AK Party’s manifesto ahead of the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, reported state-controlled Anatolian News Agency.
Speaking in the capital Ankara, Erdogan, also AK Party’s chairman, unveiled a 23-point election manifesto, which firstly focuses on the steps to heal the wounds of Feb. 6 earthquakes victims in southern Türkiye.
“Every attack, every disaster, every pain we experience, especially the earthquakes of Feb. 6, shows that we need to tighten our unity, protect our unity more, and strengthen our brotherhood even more,” Erdogan said.
Vowing soon to erase the traces of the earthquakes, which claimed more than 50,000 lives, Erdogan said Türkiye will rebuild the cities across 11 provinces.
“We will completely heal the wounds caused by the disaster in 11 provinces and their neighboring cities by building a total of 650,000 new houses, 319,000 of which will be delivered in one year,” he added.
With a “national risk shield model,” he added that 81 provinces will be transformed into disaster-resilient cities.
Türkiye to boost investment, production, exports
The manifesto also includes the areas of economy, environment, family, justice, and freedoms.
Turning to the economy, Erdogan said Türkiye aims to bring inflation down to single digits, adding: “We will increase the welfare level of our employees, from civil servants to retirees and workers, by always increasing their wages above inflation.”
Türkiye will continue with investment, production, and exports until reaching the goal of bringing its foreign trade volume to $1 trillion, he added.
“In the coming period, with an annual growth rate of 5.5%, we will increase our national income to $1.5 trillion in this period, and then to our main target of $2 trillion,” the president said.
By creating 6 million new jobs in five years, Erdogan promised to reduce the unemployment rate to 7%, saying: “We will continue to attach special importance to the employment of women and youth.”
He also said Türkiye will speed up investment and promotion in tourism with a goal of 90 million tourists and $100 billion in tourism revenue.
“We will build the axis of Türkiye with a foreign policy where both our country, our region and humanity will find peace and stability, multilateralism, more cooperation, peace, stability, and humanitarian diplomacy,” he stressed.
He reminded the participants that Türkiye can negotiate with both sides in the Russia-Ukraine war, make concrete progress such as the grain corridor and prisoner exchange, and keep the possibility of peace on the table.
The president also said Türkiye’s power will be increased in the areas of energy, agriculture, education, and transportation.
“Hopefully, on May 14, we will start the dawn of the Century of Türkiye together. We will build peace, brotherhood, trust, cities, life, and happiness together,” he added.
Bloomberg Comment: Erdogan’s Economic Manifesto Has Few Clues on Post-Election Path
An election manifesto unveiled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party on Tuesday largely rehashed economic promises already made in previous years but offered little in the way of clarity on what shape policies might take after next month’s pivotal vote.
The blueprint, which ranges widely from foreign policy to energy, set out ambitious plans should the AK Party come in first at the polls and contained a pledge to install a “strong economy team” after the May 14 ballot.
The party also committed to goals that include lowering inflation into single digits from the current 50.5% and bringing unemployment to 7%.
The vision is short on policy detail and is unlikely to ease market nerves as the $900 billion economy careens toward one of the most challenging years of Erdogan’s two-decade rule.
Two months after a pair of devastating earthquakes, Turkey is coming off an inflation crisis with record deficits in the budget and the current account as pressure intensifies on its currency.
Turkey to Finance Post-Quake Reconstruction With Special Fund
Erdogan has clung to what he calls his “New Economy Model,” a program introduced in 2021 that prioritized exports and cheap loans and abandoned mainstream economic policies in favor of measures such as ultra-low interest rates.
But signs have emerged of a possible shift after the election if the ruling party stays in power. Erdogan last week said his market-friendly former finance minister, Mehmet Simsek, is leading an overhaul of economic policy without taking on an official role.
Erdogan Hints at Economic Policy Shift With Ex-Czar’s Return
The manifesto provides scant insight into the thinking of Erdogan, who has wielded greater sway over economic decision-making and the central bank after the introduction of the executive presidential system five years ago. But his dominance became even more evident in 2022 as he pressed for lower rates to power the economy ahead of elections.
Erdogan Intends to Tighten Grip on Turkish Economy, Rate Policy
The approach, combined with shocks from abroad, has led to periods of massive economic turbulence. Consumer prices spiraled and shot past 85% late last year in Turkey, which hasn’t met its 5% inflation target for over a decade.
The election may prove a watershed for investors eyeing the world’s fifth-largest developing economy outside Asia.
Non-residents have largely exited the Turkish market over the past decade. Foreign holdings of lira bonds fell to $1.2
billion last month from $72 billion in 2013, according to the central bank. Foreign ownership of stocks was down to 29% from a historical average of 61%, according to official data.
Erdogan, addressing thousands of his party supporters at the event in Ankara, said “we will continue to grow our country with investment, employment, production, exports and a current-account surplus.” The sentence has become the president’s go-to line on referring to all matters of the economy.
On the economy side, the government has focused on short-term solutions, significantly raising the minimum wage and offering generous pensions to ease the impact from runaway inflation. “We will raise the income per capita to $16,000 and then later to higher levels” from around $10,600 now, Erdogan said.
Appearing to acknowledge some problems with the presidential system, Erdogan said — without elaborating further — that they would “restore” the governance system “in line with changing needs and experience from the past five years.”
Other key pledges
* Exports target by 2028 is $400 billion up from $254 billion last year; double gold production capacity from its current level of around 40 metric tons per year.
* Lira savings will be increased by developing financial instruments.
* Plans to invest $67 billion in telecommunications.
* Hints at efforts for a new constitution.
* AK Party will work to reduce the number of about 5 million Syrian refugees in the country.
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