CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has created a 16-point list, detailing the steps he believes ought to be taken in Turkey, post-epidemic. “If there is to be a new civilization after Covid-19, it should be made by democrats,” he said.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has shared his views on the future of Turkey – currently in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. The CHP leader suggests his 16-point post-epidemic action plan could become an example for other countries to follow.
In an article published in Cumhuriyet, “What will the new world be? What should we democrats struggle with?” Kılıçdaroğlu says “In my speech at the European Parliament in November 2017, I made the call against authoritarian powers ‘Democrats of the world, unite!’ – paraphrasing Karl Marx’s slogan ‘workers of the world, unite!’. The importance of these words from three years ago has become much clearer during the Covid-19 epidemic; this is a time in which all democrats must unite. If a new civilization is to be established post-Covid-19, it should be formed by democrats.”
“ALL OBSTACLES TO JUSTICE SHOULD BE REMOVED”
Stressing that the collapse caused by the coronavirus will strengthen the global trend toward authoritarianism, Kılıçdaroğlu said “Democrats cannot allow a post Covid-19 world to be dominated by oppressive, authoritarian powers or practitioners of neo-liberal policies”.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s post-epidemic plan for Turkey lists 16 proposed actions:
1-We should make a new democratic constitution with the participation of all social, political and cultural segments. The basis of this constitution should be the balance / control principle that will prevent arbitrariness and separation of powers, which means “separation of legislation, executive and judiciary”.
2-The backbone of the new constitution should be the new and powerful democratic parliamentary system, which we call “Crowning the Republic with democracy”. In this context, all antidemocratic laws, decrees, decisions, regulations, circulars and regulations should be cleared from our legislation. It should not be forgotten that in our Republic, which is crowned with democracy, all obstacles to freedom of opinion, thought and belief and freedom of association including media and unionization will be removed.
3-The principle of separation of powers and the full independence of the judicial institution, which is one of the most important pillars of the rule of law, should be established in accordance with strict rules so that it cannot be diminished. All obstacles to the right to access justice should be removed.
4-Another important pillar of the principle of separation of powers is in legislature. A new electoral system, which will ensure the representation of the national will in its broadest form, should be put into practice in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The legislative body of the democratic parliamentary system, the right to make laws of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, should be regulated in such a way that it is not subject to the whims and demands of the parliamentary majority or any person or group that dominates the majority of the parliament. This regulation should be such that it prevents the establishment of a guardianship above the national will.
5-Another important pillar of the principle of separation of powers is the executive. The executive should be constructed such that it is open to absolute control and accountability in all its actions. For example, all public institutions and organizations that are under the responsibility of the executive should be open to full control of the Court of Accounts, acting on behalf of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The chairmanship of the “Final Account Commission” should be established within the scope of the audit of executive budget use, and should be given to the opposition parties.
6-Local administrations should not be regulatory institutions, and they should be ensured to become the main elements of the welfare state. Within the framework of a well-defined cooperation and division of labor take an active role in solving the problems caused by economic crises and epidemics at the local level.
7-The policy of merit-based employment of public personnel, free from nepotism, should be adopted immediately. Merit-based employment of public personnel should be open and accountable to the control of all political parties, trade unions and civil society organizations.
8-Within the scope of merit based employment policies, “zero” employment deficit should be targeted especially in education, health, social security and security. When it comes to the future of our children, the health of our citizens, the care of our disabled and elderly, and the internal and external security of our country, we cannot talk about the budget balance or budget deficit. In the face of rapidly increasing unemployment, our government should use all powers at their disposal in support of the citizenry. In addition, supporting medium and small size enterprises with credit and similar support programs and expanding cooperative practices should be one of the main objectives of the government.
9-A minimum level of income must be provided to our citizens. In this context, “Family Benefits Insurance” should be put into practice immediately. All our citizens must have a minimum income guarantee (Family Benefits Insurance).
10-Our tax policy is organized to spread the tax to the bottom through indirect taxes. However, tax should spread towards the ceiling and income towards the bottom. A new approach is needed in financing interventions to overcome the crisis. Even if printing a certain amount of money to meet urgent needs is considered as a solution, the structural solution is through a fair taxation policy, which will allow fair distribution of the burden. New taxes to be applied in this regard should be developed for high income groups. Tax deduction from the minimum wage should be stopped. The tax exemption spectrum for producing, employment generating businesses should be extended.
11-According to TURKSTAT data, one out of three employees is not under contract. Informal employment should be tackled by providing social support. The employer himself should stand up for work security, and against informal employment, without the need for legal measures. Covid-19 must have demonstrated to the owners of the capital that it is necessary to have a scheme in which employees are safe with all social and health insurance.
12-Nepotism and public spending waste are creating a heavy burden on the economy. The restriction of extravagant public spending public is not only an economic, but also a moral imperative. Today we are faced with a bitter reality. The “Favoritist” Public Procurement System has become a black hole in our economy. This situation cannot be maintained. A “Public Procurement System”, which is democratic and fair and open to control, should be adopted. All “favoritist” tenders should also be cancelled. It should not be forgotten that the most significant cause of poverty is corruption. Eliminating extravagance and nepotism will also increase the investment and employment power of the real producers and industrialists.
13-Turkish industry should be restructured with the aim of producing high quality products. The public should give all kinds of support to the industrialist in the production of high value-added products. Determining the nature of public support for small and medium-sized enterprises should be left to individual organizations. All production policies should be ecologically sound, along with other forms of production.
14-Unconditional access to health services is a right and should be free. Health services, as one of the most important application areas of the welfare state, should be transformed into a structure where the public sector is effective, in coordination with the private sector. Preventative and primary healthcare services should be planned accordingly, and it is seen from practices in the world that the cost of healthcare services will decrease in a short time as preventative and primary healthcare services become widespread. On the other hand, the global epidemic has demonstrated the importance of self-sufficiency in essential health supplies. Production planning of strategic products, especially preventive health equipment and vaccines, should be made.
15-The right to housing, which is also recognized in the Constitution, must be guaranteed by the welfare state. The home-centered strategy for the prevention of the epidemic has shown that housing policies and a healthy city planning strategy are vital, especially for lower income groups. As another fundamental right, structural arrangements should be made regarding the right to access food under healthy conditions.
16-Education is Turkey’s most important development strategy and, critically, it should be planned in conjunction with stakeholders. The only goal of education policies should be to raise generations of independent intellect, independent wisdom and conscience. In our universities, all kinds of ideas and thoughts should be discussed freely and all kinds of scientific studies should be carried out freely. All stages of education should be free.
“16 WAYS TO SAVE THE FUTURE”
Kılıçdaroğlu continued as follows:
“In the days of Covid-19, some countries blame neo-liberal policies for the crisis they are experiencing, and emphasise the necessity of a ‘new social state’ policy. In such a period, prioritising Turkish democracy will open the door to the building of a new civilization and a new international solidarity.
Let’s not forget that our Republic was founded by the great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the people’s president. In Turkey’s second century, we should extend his legacy. If we realize this ideal, we will offer hope not only to our citizens, but also for the world. We can achieve this, as we succeeded 100 years ago under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.”
Translated by Richard James