No radical transformation on the horizon
Even if Muharrem Ince had won the Presidential election, we wouldn’t be in a position to radically transform the economy. For the time being, it is simply impossible.
The basic economic approach of the current administration is already clear. Whether you call it the concrete economy, or the construction or road-bridge economy. These are the investments the government is focused on. There are also some incentives for those who want to invest in the industrial sectors, but it is obvious why these entrepreneurs are not taking advantage of the incentives.
While President Erdogan followed a discourse defending the investments already made, the opposition candidates vowed to focus on production during the election campaign. We listened to the clash between these two economic preferences. Let me remind you that one of the main criticisms directed at Erdogan was that he did not speak much about the economy.
The ruling party’s election motto was: What we have done is great so it is what we will continue to do. And it succeeded. New economic promises were not needed. The electorate approved the status quo in the economy so why would the incoming government feel it needs to make any radical changes? Of course, like a giant vessel in the ocean, occasional maneuvering is needed. But no changes will be made to the main route. And as we underlined, the electorate didn’t vote for the AKP to change something. People who wanted a change voted for other parties. The AKP voters were saying: Why do we need a change?
No change after local elections either
Even once the local election in March 2019 is over, we should not expect to see such significant changes in the economic policies of the government. Indeed, some of the steps may be postponed until after the end of 2019 but the economic preferences of this government are already clear, and it is not going to change from year to year.
What may induce a radical change in an economic agenda that has been favored since 2003?
We will see. We will be discussing Kanal Istanbul, which needs billions of dollars of resources in the coming years. Let’s assume we open the channel. How many bridges will we make on the canal? Five, ten, twenty? This is what the government focused on in the election campaign, and it was approved by the citizens.
What the government didn’t focus on was how to open new business opportunities to increase employment, which it sees as longterm and laborious. Instead, it incentivizes every existing employer to employ more, even though it does not happen for various reasons. The election results show that this was approved by the voters too.
If you were in their shoes, would you make any radical changes in your economic preferences?