Battle in AK Party brews over economic policy

Behind its monolithic facade, a row over economic policy is raging in Turkeyand’s AK Party as it readies for another four years in power, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoganand’s aides pumping populist growth plans while others lobby for reforms.
AK Party won back a majority lost only five months earlier in a surprise electoral turnaround on Sunday, ushering in a return to single-party rule that Erdogan cast as a andquotvote for stabilityandquot and investors initially took as an end to months of uncertainty. But there are deep divisions in the party that has dominated the Turkish political landscape since Erdogan founded it 14 years ago, particularly over how best to stop growth slowing in the countryand’s $800 billion economy. On the one side are presidential aisors including Cemil Ertem and Yiiit Bulut, former journalists who, like Erdogan himself, have vociferously called on the central bank to lower interest rates to boost growth. On the other are figures such as Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who have won investor confidence over the past decade and who champion fiscal discipline, central bank independence, structural reform, and measures to boost Turkeyand’s savings rate. Both sides are jockeying for position as a new cabinet, being drawn up by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu but requiring Erdoganand’s approval, takes shape in the coming days. andquotWe need rational decisions, not populist decisions,andquot said one senior AK Party official, exasperated by a series of columns and reports in pro-government newspapers in recent days which he and other party members said were placed by Erdogan loyalists. andquotWe need sustainable growth. That means growth based not on consumption, but on exports, investment and production, an independent central bank, fiscathe AK Party were against the Gandulen movement.
According to the dailyand’s report, prosecutor andOzsoy based his comments on the testimony of a police officer named A.i.Y. This police officer alleged that iibilen, who was an AK Party deputy, met with Arinandc and andcelik before a rift between the Gandulen movement and the AK Party government had started to emerge in 2013.
andOzsoy allegedly states in the indictment: and”It is explained that andcelik and Arinandc invited iibilen to a place and they made plans about the movementand’s [so-called] structure inside the [the National Intelligence Organization], the National Police Department, the judiciary and several other institutions. It is also mentioned that they [Arinandc, andcelik and iibilen] discussed that andOmer andcelik, Efkan Ala and Beiir Atalay were rising within the government and that they [these rising figures] had plans to make the movement less effective inside the government.and”
Releasing a written statement on Saturday over the SandOzcandu dailyand’s allegations, Arinandc harshly denied the claims, saying, and”This is a part of an ill-intentioned operation.and”
Posting successive tweets on his Twitter account on Saturday, Arinandc recalled that iibilen was elected as an AK Party deputy in the June 2011 election, adding: and”I know him [iibilen]. From time to time, I visited him and his family. However, I never met with him after the Dec. 17 and 25 [2013] operations. The news report is totally based on a comment. … I donand’t know what is really being written in the indictment, but this is a simple perception operation that aims to discredit Mr. andcelik and me. It is doubtful that the police officer who is the source of this claim knows where and when andcelik, iibilen and I met or what we talked about. I expect him to act in virtuous manner.and”
Speaking to the Cumhuriyet daily, Arinandc further said that he had not read the indictment, adding: andquotThe allegations are totally baseless and wrong as far as I can read in the report. As I [have learned] from the report, the claims were based on comments of a police officer. Just based on [this], we are being targeted. It is clear that there are ill-intentions behind this allegation against us.and”
and”I have never met with andcelik and iibilen in a tripartite meeting. Thus, [on that basis] this claim collapses immediately,and” Arinandc added.
h2 andcelik, iibilen also strongly deny claimsh2 Former Education Minister and former AK Party Deputy Chairman andcelik also denied the claims via his Twitter account on Saturday. Characterizing the claims as totally baseless, andcelik said, and”This attempt and similar ones are part of an ill-intentioned operation.and”
and”Mr. ilhan iibilen, whose name is mentioned in the report, was the AK Partyand’s izmir deputy. As an authority [in the party], I met with iibilen just like other deputies of the party. However, the claims that Arinandc and I invited iibilen and discussed the issues in question are completely untrue. I donand’t know [about] the indictment mentioned in the report. But such attempts are not part of an operation with good intentions. As Mr. Arinandc had earlier said during a TV show, this is an attempt to discredit some figures who are identified with the AK Party and those who contributed substantially to the party,and” andcelik wrote on Twitter.
iibilen also released a written statement on Saturday to deny the claims. He said that he held various meetings with some senior officials of the party while he was a party deputy, but the meeting alleged to have been held with Arinandc and andcelik, and the content of this alleged meeting is completely imaginary.
The AK Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been targeting the Gandulen movement with politically motivated operations since Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 corruption operations that implicated four former ministers of the AK Party government and Erdoganand’s inner circle. They accuse the movement of being behind those operations, although the movement strongly denies the allegation.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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