Erdogan pledges to avoid demagogic spending in Runup to next year's general elections
There will be no "election economy" for demagogic effect in the runup to next year's general elections, pledged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. "We will in no way make concessions on this matter," Erdogan told a meeting of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO), adding that he had ordered economic officials to keep strict fiscal discipline. Turkey last month posted a $3.1 billion budget surplus, he said. Stating that his government has held firm on not sacrificing the economy to political gain, Erdogan said, "On the contrary, we made trust in a stable politics the driving force behind the economy. We completely reversed the relationship between politics and the economy in Turkey which had prevailed before we took office. We never made politics an obstacle or hindrance to the economy but a supporting pillar." Stating that this year Turkey's economy again started to break international records with its higher-than-estimated growth, Erdogan said employment fell back to nearly 10 percent, as projected. Erdogan criticized those who mocked his prediction that Turkey would weather the global economic crisis with minimal damage, saying, "We said Turkey would return to the unemployment level of the pre-crisis period. Recently announced figures show that we did it, and things will get better." Touching on recently announced second quarter growth figures, Erdogan said Turkey has become a $1 trillion economy, and predicted that annual growth this year would total 7 or 8 percent. Touting the stock market's record highs since his party came to power, from 10,000 points in 2002 to 63,000 points today, Erdogan said everyone won under his government. Criticizing the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) for declining to support the government-backed constitutional reform package which passed in a referendum last Sunday, Erdogan said, "It's a great mistake to think that the government should work to improve democracy and make the economy grow but that there's no need to support these efforts. There's no place anymore for such an approach in Turkey." Thanks to Anatolian capital investments, unemployment fell, Erdogan said, urging businesspeople to avoid using the crisis an excuse to shed workers.