Growth under AK Party lags behind previous terms, CHP says

The annual economic growth rate under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) fell well behind the levels sustained by previous governments, according to a report released by Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy ilhan Kesici, which contradicts the widely promoted AK Party claim that it has boosted the economy far more than other administrations in the republicand’s history.
A fortnight before a highly anticipated parliamentary vote, Kesici released a frank economic assessment of the AK Partyand’s economic performance over the first 11 years of its 12-and-a-half-year total term of administration. The report, and”AKP Term: 2003-2014 Basic Economic Indicators andlsquoFrom Where to Where?and’and” compares current economic results with previous governments in modern Turkish history, mostly reviewing the years after the transition to a multi-party election system in 1946.
Touching on annual growth rates, the report indicates that the Turkish economy grew by 5.1 percent each year on average between 1946 and 2002, when the AK Party first came to the power. Yet, the economy was boosted by only 4.7 percent each year on average between 2003 and 2014. The average growth rate for each year sank to 3.3 percent between 2007 and 2014, maintained the report, highlighting that the same rate in other emerging economies was 6 percent during the same time period.
After the AK Party blasted the CHP economy-focused pledges made in the run-up to the June 7 election, including additional benefits for retirees, the AK Party has also recently vowed to increase retirement benefits, suggesting that the AK Party was a bit discomfited by the CHP move. Now the opposition party has cranked up the pressure by releasing another publication that aims to show the deterioration in fundamental indicators under the AK Party tenure.
The report touches on one of the most debated weaknesses of the AK Partyand’s economic model: mounting external debts. Turkeyand’s gross external debts, including those of the public and private sectors, spiked from $107 billion in 2002 to $398 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, household debts surged from $4 billion to $ 155 billion in the same period, according to the report.
Regarding the size of the manufacturing industry and domestic savings in the countryand’s gross domestic product (GDP), the report compares the figures in 1998, 2002 and 2013. While the manufacturing sector accounted for 23.4 percent of the economy in 1998, it slumped to 22.3 percent in 2002 and further sank to 15 percent in 2013. In the meantime, domestic saving rates decreased from 24 percent in 1998 to 19.1 percent in 2002 and dropped further to 14 percent in 2013.
While the amount of investments — including public and private — made up 24.3 percent of the total GDP in 1998, the corresponding ratio slumped to 17.3 percent in 2002 and rebounded to 20 percent in 2013.
Kesiciand’s report also quoted the capital-freeze index drawn up by the Economist magazine in 2013 where Turkey was ranked first among 26 emerging markets that are most vulnerable to a sudden stop in foreign capital inflows.
Furthermore, the AK Party has a poor record when it comes to reducing unemployment rates in Turkey. Speaking to Todayand’s Zaman early this month, CHP Deputy Chairman Faik andOztrak said the unemployment rate was, on average, 8.3 percent between 1980 and 2002, but it surged to 10 percent between 2003 and 2014. The latest Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) media release shows that the jobless rate increased even further to 11.2 percent in February, suggesting a discouraging outlook for this indicator.
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While the plight of unemployed citizens remains a separate issue, even those with jobs in hand also suffer from chronic problems, implying that the Turkish job market is bleak.
Among those problems, according to the most recent statistics released by the Istanbul Council for Workersand’ Health and Work Safety (iSiG), at least 15,369 workers were killed between November 2002 and May 2015 due to what people call and”workplace murders,and” as they stem mostly from lax safety measures at work.
The death toll of workplace accidents was 146 in the last two months of 2002, and 811 in 2003, the AK Partyand’s first full year of government. This spiraled to 1,886 by 2014 and 628 for this year as of May 28, 2015. In between, Turkish workplace death rates mostly rose, with corresponding annual figures from 2004-2013 reading: 843, 1,096, 1,601, 1,044, 866, 1,171, 1,454, 1,710, 878 and 1,235. Only three years out of 11 completed years reflected a drop in Turkish workplace death rates.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman