Erdogan pledges new measures to counter economic crisis
Speaking at his Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the government is discussing decisive measures to counter the impact of the global economic crisis on Turkey with sector representatives, experts and businessmen. "We are addressing the issue at length, calmly, with common sense, not in haste. I believe that Turkey will emerge from the crisis with minimal damage," Erdogan said. Stating that the government would soon announce a new package of measures to curb the crisis' impact, Erdogan warned opportunists that they would not be allowed to exploit the situation. Stressing that the crisis is centered on the US and is not the result of his government's economic policies, Erdogan said it is affecting all countries because we live in a global world. Turkey will be minimally affected by the crisis, and the government is taking all necessary measures against it, Erdogan said. The premier also expressed support for a recent move by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to bring in women who wear chadors as members. "If this is a genuine initiative, then I do congratulate those behind this change," he said, expressing hope that it's not an attempt to politically exploit the headscarf issue. "We expect to see more like this. If this continues, many problems would be solved," he added. Erdogan also dismissed claims that the government is discriminating in favor of AKP supporters in distributing aid to the poor with an eye on the local elections next March. He said they have boosted aid programs for the needy in recent years, adding that provincial governors supervise the aid's distribution.