Column: The economy’s important role in Turkey’s referendum

Erdal Tanas KaragölBY: Erdal Tanas Karagöl*

 A new period will begin, with the historic referendum resulting in a “yes” majority. The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) road map displaying its plans for the 2019 general elections and the presidential election is very important to analyze.

At first it is important to read and study the map of Turkey that was revealed as a result of the referendum. The AK Party had shown success in evaluating election results in the past. Analyzing election results carefully, the party took the necessary actions and displayed a very determined attitude in doing so.

Analyzing the election results this time is a must-do on Turkey’s government list before it switches to the new government system.

There are also things that need to be done to fix the negative perception intentionally created by a certain group. Especially in the field of economics.

Thus, there is a busy reform agenda that awaits us in the upcoming days. Transition to the presidential system will bring with it changes to economic institutions, politics and of course to administration.

Therefore, while Turkey starts to prepare for its change on one hand, it should confront its current problems on the other. While doing so, the message given through the ballot box should be its directive.


What is Turkey’s homework while it works on solving its current problems on the one hand and writing a new economic story for this new period, on the other?

One of the most important issues we observed during the referendum election period was the slowdown in the economy. Especially after the coup attempt period, despite successfully foiling the coup, the atmosphere was depicted by malevolent minds as very gloomy. As a result, investors waiting for the election result caused both slowdown and uncertainty. The wind has to change direction as soon as possible.

In this respect, if we focus on the message that came out of the ballot box, the majority of “no” votes came from metropolitan cities which have a big production capacity. Therefore, economy is the most important tool to eliminate the anxiety of the voters in these cities.

The investments that will be made in this transition period will increase the confidence in the economy and create a good demonstration of the positive relationship between the new government system and the economy.

Employment is one of the most important fields in which economy can showcase itself. When the fact that about 800,000 people are employed every year in Turkey, aiming to decrease the 13% unemployment rate and creating employment options for new graduates should be the priority.

The youth unemployment rate is 24.5%, which means that one out of every four young adults are jobless. Unfortunately, Turkey’s political agenda and the old system restricting its maneuver ability in the economic field caused a slowdown and even a halt in the necessary steps to be taken. There will be no option to postpone the economic agenda during this transitional period or within the new government system after the referendum.

The youth will be the determining voter profile in the 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections. Therefore, by employing youth, job opportunities and economic production continuing positively and will increase the youth’s confidence in the government.

The increase in the number of “yes” votes in the east and southeast regions indicate that the people of the region supported the government because of the economic prosperity and societal peace in their regions. This also indicates that the region expects more investment and opportunities in the following period. The support of the people in this region should be recognized with investments in the region.

In the current situation, it is important to read the message given through the ballot box and determine the issues carefully.

Most importantly, the reforms needed to push Turkey up to the next league should be discussed urgently.

I will hopefully discuss this issue in my next article.

*Erdal Tanas Karagöl is a Turkish journalist. He writes columns for Yeni Şafak Turkish newspaper.
     (Published in Yeni Şafak on  April. 20, 2017)