Structural reform should be a priority

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY - Emre ALKIN Columnist

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the approaches of the Turkish private sector define the direction of politics. Yesterday I saw opinion leaders who said “economic reforms now.” They still don’t understand. Things do not improve because of “tax reform”. There are things to be done before that. In addition, I understand that they have no complaints about justice-freedoms-education since they constantly talk about “economy first.” They obviously direct Ankara in this way.

No offence, the situation of the sectors which have been demanding “unfair competitio­n” under the name “reform” until today, is obvious. No one in the world says, “I want to buy this product or service from the Turks.” Turkey is full of companies that mark down to make a breakthrou­gh among

their rivals. As this is the situation, everyone is asking for incentives. In addition, protection against foreign opponents with the import tax has become a habit. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the real reason for inflation is the non-rational demands of the private sector. Unfortunat­ely, the point reached shows that an enterprise can’t be carried out successful­ly with inadequate means.

Those men for all seasons

As members of the Turkish business community started constructi­ng - because “there is a lot of money,” - they forgot their main job. When that wasn’t enough, they got into the hotel business. Instead of getting deeper in their original business, they followed the money making trends. Under contracts for businesses on a knife’s edge, they have accumulate­d serious debts. For this reason, they wanted to be exempt from tax all the time. Many have ceased to produce and became importers. Those who continue to produce began to mislead bureaucrat­s and ministers in order to compete.

What happened? As expected, serious deteriorat­ion in growth and price stability as a result of derailed economic parameters, and fluctuatin­g exchange rates on top of that. When I look at the election results, I see that economic conditions are the most decisive factor. This is not only a result of politics, but also the preference­s of the Turkish private sector. However, it was an important indicator in terms of demonstrat­ing that democracy exists in Turkey. The whole world understood that “the will of the people” is still valid in Turkey.

Did the citizen send a message to only politics? No. He sent a message to the business world that misled politics. After that, opinion leaders should be aware of the need to think and re-think before asking for something from politics. They must now understand that without structural reforms, everything will lack consistenc­y rather than using words resting on shaky ground, like “it’s time for the economy.”

I am particular­ly appealing to the economic actors who have been engaged in opinion leadership for a long time. You are saying: “The private sector’s interest is the interest of Turkey,” but Turkey’s current situation invalidate­s this thesis of yours. You first have to give up on “mediocrity,” which you have been complainin­g about, and from now on focus on what is best for Turkey. You have to be cruel to be kind.

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