Ali Babacan and his political legacy: An enabler of the authoritarian turn in Turkey?

Turkey has spoiled a wonderful decade. During the last 10 years, global investors gave Turkey funds and time generously. How did Turkey spend this time and credit? Did Turkey put its economy into an upper league? After 10 years of abundance, is Turkey producing high-technology commodities today? Simply, no.
Turkey has used the last decadeand’s credit and funds for one sector: housing. Therefore, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacanand’s political doctrine can be summarized as the directing of global credit and funds into construction. In that sense, Babacan has failed to transform the Turkish economy. He was the absolute patron of the Turkish economy in the last decade. Is Turkey today in an aanced league of technology production? In brief, Babacan acted as the guarantor for global investors. As long as global investors saw Babacan as the key patron of the Turkish economy, they believed that Turkey would be a stable place. Thus, metaphorically, Babacan was the de facto manager of global funds in Turkey. After 13 years, all major Turkish economic indicators — such as unemployment, inflation and Turkish liraUS dollar parity — are turning bad. After 13 years of Babacan rule, Turkey has failed to generate a global trademark. So, appreciating his role as guarantor to Western investors, what else is there? How and why has Ali Babacan failed to transform the Turkish economy? Turkey has been on the dangerous route of and”authoritarianizationand” since the Gezi protests. Journalists are summoned to courts because they tweet. Simply speaking, authoritarianism is now felt at every level. Ali Babacan is part of the government that has ruled Turkey in this march to authoritarianism. Except for some low-profile public statements about the virtues of the rule of law, Ali Babacan has never been a critic of authoritarianism. Today, tax officials are punishing various companies for their political positions. Who is the patron of the Turkish economy while all this is happening? Today, a small group of crony companies is getting almost 80 percent of all state tenders. Does he not have enough information about this? Even a secondary school student can count these cronies by name. How come Ali Babacan is silent on this? The Turkish government and the Turkish Parliament have passed many anti-democratic regulations in the last three years. Did Ali Babacan not sign all of them? The level of corruption in Turkey is now global elementary school information. Crony capitalism has become the new norm. Should we think that all this is happening without Ali Babacanand’s knowledge (or shall I say approval)?
Is there anything we have heard from Babacan about all these wrongdoings other than various abstract aphorisms on justice and freedom? Has Ali Babacan ever publicly criticized, on a concrete level, one simple anti-democratic development in the last three years? Did he not sign the bill that now lets the government off on the whole of its Twitter and Facebook shenanigans? All these facts underline a simple reality: Ali Babacan truly deserves to be labeled the prince of the economy. But he has never been a prince of democracy. So, why should we exempt Ali Babacan from our criticism of Turkeyand’s authoritarian turn? Or, morally speaking, should we be tolerant just because Ali Babacan is satisfying Western investors? Of course, we should appreciate Ali Babacan for persuading Western investors to keep their money in Turkey, but the economy is not the whole story. Thus, the political legacy of Ali Babacan will not cover only the economic aspect of his political aenture. I am afraid there might be many historians and political scientists who will put his name down as an enabler of the authoritarian turn in Turkey.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman