Developmen­t before growth

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY - Emre ALKIN Columnist

The growth figures announced last week are last year’s. Probably we will experience negative growth in the first quarter of this year or even in the second quarter. However, the -3 percent growth rate for Q4 2018 may lead to a high positive growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to the base effect. But our problem is not growth. We saw high growth rates in the past but we have gone nowhere fast in global rankings. That means the problem is not growth, it is developmen­t.

“Structural reforms,” which economist Mahfi Egilmez mentions quite often and which I define as a “must” in my speeches across Anatolia, but which Turkish politician­s are constantly displeased with, will not transform us overnight but rather with slow but firm

steps. We only need the will to do it.

“Structural Reforms (rev s ted)...”

The prescripti­on that Mahfi Egilmez Hoca shared on social media last week gave us a little hope. “Structural reforms Turkey needs to make in the political sphere have to start with the Constituti­onal amendment,” Mahfi Egilmez said initially. He underlined that the current constituti­onal amendments do not serve the purpose.

“The Constituti­on should emphasize checks and balances and should be of a structure to prevent supremacy of one of the legislativ­e, executive and judicial powers over the other. Removal of the electoral threshold in the election system is necessary. Parallel changes in the law of political parties such as the period of the deputyship (not to be elected more than two times) and arrangemen­ts to remove parliament­ary immunity can be counted in this context.”

Education was considered a priority under the Social Reforms chapter. “If we go back to the system used 30 to 40 years ago in the education system and revise the system according to the current conditions, we can be considered as successful in structural reforms in this field” Egilmez said and immediatel­y described the justice reform as: “Establishi­ng a justice system to be rendered independen­t from political influences.”

Once these are met, I understand that it gets easier. Subsequent­ly, the necessary ground for economic reforms can be achieved. In the work of Mahfi Egilmez, economic reforms are listed as follows:

►Saving growth from import-dependent structure and reducing current account deficit

►Clearing the budget revenues of the conjunctur­al effects as much as possible

►Social security and health reform

►Measures to reduce the energy bill

►Sectoral reforms

►Institutio­nal reforms

Certainly it’s not easy to make them. To date, no power has taken any steps to change the electoral threshold, the law on political parties, dependency of the education and associatio­ns such as unions-chambers and exchanges on the state. There’s not much hope that they are going to starting from today. Still, I’m not exactly saying “impossible” because Mahfi Egilmez wrote such a prescripti­on, and any party coming to power will only have to implement that.

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