Turkey's Era of Political and Economic Stability

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1 Turkey's Era of Political and Economic Stability Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency

2 Turkey's Era of Political and Economic Stability Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency

3 PILDAT is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit indigenous research and training institution with the mission to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in Pakistan. PILDAT is a registered non-profit entity under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, Pakistan. Copyright Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency PILDAT All rights reserved Printed in Pakistan Published: December 2013 ISBN: Any part of this publication can be used or cited with a clear reference to PILDAT Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency - PILDAT Islamabad Office: No. 7, 9th Avenue, F-8/1, Islamabad, Pakistan Lahore Office: 45-A, Sector XX, 2nd Floor, Phase III Commercial Area, DHA, Lahore, Pakistan Tel: (+92-51) ; Fax: (+92-51) Web:

4 REPORT CONTENTS Foreword Introduction Historical Background Conclusion

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6 REPORT Foreword Study Visit to Turkey was organized by PILDAT from November 10-16, 2013 by including key members of Pakistan's A Parliament and members of PILDAT Dialogue Group on Civil-Military Relations to study the developments in Democratic Civil-Military Relations and Consolidation of Democracy in Turkey. Individual delegates have penned down their learning and analyses based on the Study Visit. This paper titled Turkey's Era of Political and Economic Stability has been authored by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider, Former Governor Sindh; Former Federal Minister for Interior. We at PILDAT are grateful to him for sharing his analysis and are happy to publish it for a wider dissemination. Disclaimer Views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of PILDAT. Islamabad December

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8 REPORT Introduction urkey, with its population of 75 million, growing economy and its geostrategic position in the middle of Afro-Eurasian Tmain continent has emerged as a prominent country. Turkey has political, historical and cultural ties with Europe, Middle East, Africa, Black Sea, Asia and Caucuses. It is an important member of NATO (the only Muslim Country) OSCE and CICA and which its recent dynamic and active foreign policy, it has become an important player in the global arena. 07

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10 REPORT Historical Background Turkey suffered from political instability and economic crises. Frequent disruptions by Military forces to disrupt the political Governments, or to influence them from behind the scene when military was not in direct control were the main reason for political instability and subsequently economic instability. The Turkish Armed Forces have been the guardian of Secularism and Republicanism as enunciated by Kemal Ata Turk, who dismantled Khilafat and established the Republic of Turkey. This era commenced with the turn of the century with coming to power of Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, who has been elected third time Prime Minister consecutively through a popular vote, is a strong leader with Islamic (conservative) leanings. His main achievements are: 1. Establishing Civilian Supremacy Over Military a. Roll back the over-arching influence of military from political affairs. To this end, he civilianized the National Security Council, reducing the number of military generals. b. He disregarded the dictation of supreme military council on matters of promotion of senior military commanders and used his authority and discretions on appointment and promotions of senior commanders. c. Many senior officers, who resented/resisted this policy and displayed dissent were retired, dismissed, tried in courts and jailed. Trials of several military officers are still continuing. 2. Constitutional reforms Several far-reaching amendments/additions were made to the constitution, laws and regulations, to balance powers and bring stability. Turkeys' effort to gain membership of EU also provided the impetus to upgrade laws to come at par with European standards. Extensive consultations were held at public level to involve the public and solicit their support for these constitutional reforms. This has resulted in gaining balance and political stability. The reform process is continuing. There are important challenges in this regards: a. The direct election of President through popular vote and enhancing the powers of the president. There is a talk of swap of appointments between President and Prime Minister. b. To amend the Irrevocable articles in the constitution pertaining to secularism, official language etc. The opposition parties are not in favour of revoking the irrevocable. 3. The Kurdish Problem The Kurds constitute 20% of Turkey's population and the long-going ethnic conflict with Turks has cost 40,000 lives over the past 30 years. The Turkish Prime Minister has introduced a reform package for the Kurdish minority offering many concessions but it has not satisfied them. Dialogue continues to come to an agreeable solution. But the challenge remains for the Turkish PM to bring peace and harmony to Kurd's region. 4. The Syrian Problem The civil war going in Syria to oust the Basharul Asad Government has cast ugly shadows on Turkey which shares a 900 miles long border with Syria. 600,000 Syrians have crossed the border and are in the refugee camps in the border area costing Turkey a huge sum of money and resources. Turkey was supporting the rebels all along but is now in the midst of a more balance policy. Critics say that Syria has the potential to become Afghanistan of the region. 5. The Egyptian Stand Off Turkey supported Egyptian President Morsi and is cool towards the military regime of Egypt. This is causing tension and Turkish Ambassador has been asked to leave Cairo. 6. Economic Reforms Having attained political stability, extensive economic reforms were undertaken in all sectors of economy: 09

11 REPORT a. Autonomy of Central Bank. b. Empowerment of Auditor General and granting autonomy and requisite powers to over all expenditures. c. Establishment of Regulatory Bodies in all fields of economy and creating environments to work without interference from any quarters. d. Making Chairman Budget and Planning Committee the focal point of all economic policy, budget, expenditures, etc. He works under a Deputy Prime Minister. This commission has special powers to increase income and reduce expenditures. knowledge expertise and law-making at local levels. Turkey offers several training courses in this field and undertakes projects in other countries. e. Education. There is ONE education system in the country. Literacy rate is 90-95%. Turkey encourages foreign students in its universities and also establishes schools and colleges in many countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan. f. Humanitarian Aid. Turkish Government and people come to the help of disaster hit countries. Their annual budget for relief is touching $ one billion every year. Pakistan has been a beneficiary in the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods. e. Through financial discipline reducing debts, tripling its revenues/income in the last ten years and pushing its exports to US $ 150 Billions per year, Turkey has stabilized its economy. Surplus, thus created have been aggressively utilized to improve the quality of life of its people. The reform in the economic field and the demonstrated performance has earned Turkey the respect and appreciation at global level. f. Vulnerability of the Economy. Turkey's current account deficit of 7.4% and a requirement of $ 5 billion every month as a short term loan to meet its energy bill are a continuing challenge. 7. Miscellaneous Observations a. The quality of Elected Members is impressive. Most possess degrees and qualification from prestigious institutions. b. Political Parties are well organized and enrol members with a lot of seriousness. The Government gives grants to political parties according to the number of popular votes won in the elections. Political parties are linked to think tanks and have their own think tanks also. c. Quality of Think Tanks. There are several prestigious Think Tanks, (many supported by government grants) covering vast fields analysing, Domestic, National, Regional and Global problems. The research produced is extremely useful for policy makers to make knowledge based decisions. d. Municipal Services. Turkey take prides in the 10

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13 REPORT Conclusion Pakistan and Turkey enjoy excellent relations at Government to Government and people to people levels. There is a lot to learn from Turkeys' experience in the fields of political stability, Civil-Military Relations, Economic Reforms, Municipal Services and Quality Education. 12

14 Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency Islamabad Office: No. 7, 9th Avenue, F-8/1, Islamabad, Pakistan Tel: (+92-51) Fax: (+92-51) Lahore Office: 45-A, Sector XX, 2nd Floor, Phase III Commercial Area, DHA, Lahore Tel: (+92-42) Fax: (+92-42) Web:

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