‘AK Party pledges to manage poverty, not to abolish it’

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has failed to make any serious dent in Turkish poverty, despite progress over the years, and its election pledges offer no permanent solution to eliminate one of Turkeyand’s longest-standing problems, the main opposition argues.
Experts agree that Turkey has seen an improvement in reducing the poverty gap between 2003 and 2013, noting, however, that a deep income inequality still persists in the country. Critics blame AK Party policies for Turkeyand’s failure to address the root causes of poverty, while suggesting that its social aid only helped to mitigate the impact on low-income families. The AK Party gave various kinds of financial and social assistance during its 13-year rule between 2002 and 2015, in which it was seen to distribute food throughout the year and deliver coal to the needy in winter. Over the weekend, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Ali Riza Alaboyun boasted that the ruling party has distributed a total of 20 million tons of coal to the needy so far. Alaboyun was responding to a parliamentary question submitted by main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) Kocaeli deputy Haydar Akar. Akar asserted on Saturday that the ministerand’s statement represents the partyand’s mindset of fighting poverty since 2002 when it came to power. and”Long-standing methods of augmenting social aid to the needy by the ruling AK Party has failed and the party is unlikely to change the current picture for the better if it remains in power. The party lacks a comprehensive strategy to reduce or abolish poverty,and” Akar argued.
Turkey is listed second, after Israel, in the poverty line ratio in an income inequality index by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Akar claimed that the number of poor reached 22 million in Turkey during the AK Party reign, adding that these people are destined to remain poor unless the current strategies are abandoned. and”We are not against providing social assistance, we are against doing this for the sake of saving the day andhellip the state is responsible for creating jobs in the first place,and” Akar commented. According to the CHP deputy, providing financial or food support to low-income families and individuals does not offer the economically disaantaged ways to improve their situation, but simply encourages their dependence on social aid.
Tackling poverty remains one of the key elements of election propaganda in Turkey with all of the four political parties in Parliament offering some ambitious plans to entice their potential voters ahead of Nov. 1 general election. Few of these projects could offer a solution other than managing poverty, which means making life more comfortable for the poor — a temporary remedy.
h2 High inequality persists as measures failh2 According to the Interowly defined. The definitions of andlsquoterrorismand’ and andlsquosupporting terrorismand’ are still far too broad in Turkish law, leaving scope for the law to be used against media outlets that are critical or oppose government views.and”
Head of the German Journalists Union (DJV) Michael Konken said in a statement to Todayand’s Zaman that and”unfortunately with these developments the Turkish government has added another action of oppression against independent media.and”
Konken stated that the government-led takeover of Koza ipek Holding and”constitutes an obstacleand” in Turkeyand’s EU ambitions.
Reminding that as the DJV, they have warned EU authorities not to progress in talks with Turkey unless fundamental rights and freedom of speech and media are guaranteed, Konken said, and”This country is currently miles and miles away from this.and”
Mogens Blicher Bjerregandaringrd, the president of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), said the Turkish authorities andquotshould stop using fake accusations to silence critical media.and”
He said the appointment of a trustee to Koza ipek is and”an unacceptable violation against press freedom.and”
and”Just days before an important general election, the latest attack by the interim Turkish government against media outlets owned by Koza ipek Holding must clearly be considered as a politically motivated attack against critical journalists, free speech, private and independent media,and” he said.
Jo Glanville, the director of English PEN, said: and”This is a direct attack on the independence of the media in Turkey, marking a further dramatic decline for press freedom in the country.
and”In the last few days before the elections, it is critical that the Turkish government allows the media to report freely and without intimidation. Turkey is disregarding its international obligations to respect freedom of expression at a time when the role of the press has never been more important.and”
The UK-based NUJ told Todayand’s Zaman: and”The timing [of the takeover] is of great significance. It will also have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and the right to report and other critical media outlets will also feel threatened.
and”The episode shows a blatant disregard for established principles of free speech, judicial independence and respect for the rule of law and that Turkeyand’s rulers are turning their backs on democracy.
and”It seems that the electoral strategy of the [Justice and Development Party] AK Party is to silence those who oppose them for their own electoral gain and to prevent a proper democratic debate around policies,and” the statement continues.
Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) Director Aidan White told Todayand’s Zaman that and”it is a hallmark of intolerance and lack of respect for media pluralism when a governing party is allowed to seize control of dissident voices in media.
and”Journalists and media who fear they will suffer government interference are often afraid to give voice to critical opinions, particular close to an election,and” he said.
and”This seizure is designed to stifle political criticism and reinforce the dangerous and fearful atmosphere in which media work. It is a scandal that will only do further damage to Turkeyand’s reputation as a country committed to democracy and respect for human rights,and” White added.