New road map
Economy features at the heart of AK Party’s road map to be announced soon
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected party leader after a break of three years with 1,414 votes at the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s third extraordinary congress. His return to the head of the party is the first step towards implementing the executive presidential system approved in a constitutional referendum in April.
At the congress, the party laid out plans for changes to its administrative structure, in particular the central executive committee and the renewal of local party organizations and AK Party-controlled municipalities, as well as a cabinet reshuffle.
Erdogan laid out his plans for the revision of AK Party organization and said party conventions would be held until the end of this year. Party branches are expected to recruit party activists between the ages of 18 and 25, he said. One aim of the restructuring is to go door-to-door and communicate with all 80 million people in the country by the presidential election in November 2019.
The president said that the conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) would continue with determination and that peace talks are not on the table. He also said that both democracy and the economy are due for reform. “We will neither have a middle-income trap nor middle-democracy trap,” he said. However, the state of emergency would continue indefinitely until peace was achieved, he said.
A change to the AK Party’s charter allowed Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to become general vice-president and party group chairman, with 300 votes at an election held in parliament.
The AK Party reform agenda includes looking at the actions of the government, from the economy to jurisdiction, foreign policy to democratization. This plan will be announced in the coming days. Erdogan will now get information individually from each minister on planned and ongoing projects and will monitor ministers’ and the cabinet’s activities with the help of a team based in the presidential complex and another at AK Party headquarters.
Erdogan will complete talks with the ministers by the end of June. He will then determine a road map for the coming six months and for the period until the presidential election in November 2019, according to party circles.
Economy features at heart of road map
The economy is most important aspect in this road map. The health, transportation, energy, defense,
tourism and construction sectors are considered the locomotives for an economic turnaround. Measures will be taken to emerge from the middle-income trap and to reduce unemployment and inflation to single digits.
Among important regulations expected to be included in the action plan is the manufacturing reform package, which will pave the way for investments and create taxation and bureaucratic convenience for investors in organized industrial zones. A second law will be completed shortly following the reform package, which has been already presented to the parliament. It is expected to be a step toward tax reform that has been on the agenda for a long time. The Labor Ministry has completed its work on establishing a fund for severance pay, a key priority.
Amendments to the Bankruptcy Law, reform of public personnel rules, developing a national agricultural policy and changes to laws governing the wholesale of food to curb price rises are among other issues that the road map will include.
The government also wants to accelerate work on a planned nuclear power station near the Black Sea town of Sinop, in addition to the first planned atomic power station at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean. Other high-profile investments include the completion of a bridge across the Dardanelles Strait and a third airport in Istanbul, as well as highspeed train projects, more roads and city hospitals.
Parliament’s coup commission releases draft report
The lack of advance warning of last year’s failed coup was an intelligence weakness but the putschists pulling forward the attempt by a day was decisive in its failure, says a preliminary report by the parliamentary commission investigating the events of July 15.
Resat Petek, an AK Party lawmaker and the head of the commission, spoke on Friday at a news conference in Ankara at the release the 639-page draft report. It squarely places blame on the so-called Gulenist Terrorist Organization (FETO) for the attempted overthrow. FETO is said to be led by the Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in the United States.
The report will be sent to commission members who have until June 5 to present it to the presidency of the parliament following the addition of remarks and dissenting opinions. Responding to criticism that the release of the report is long overdue after the commission completed its investigation on Jan. 3, Petek said: “Investigating this organization, which hides behind a wall of hypocrisy and secrecy and carries out illegal activities behind a legal facade, creates many difficulties.”
The report incorporates the National Intelligence Service’s 36-page document, which, Petek said does not include a list of users of ByLock, a mobile-phone messaging application allegedly used by participants in the coup.