UPDATE WITH REMARKS BY HDP CHAIR
By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) – A Turkish opposition party on Monday urged moving Turkey towards early elections next year.
"Let’s make a medium-term budget. A medium-term plan and then let us prepare an exit plan for Turkey. Then, let us go to the national will, let us go to elections," Ismail Tatlioglu, head of the Good (IYI) Party's parliamentary group, told lawmakers during the 2021 budget debate in parliament.
Tatlioglu said Turkey needs a new political atmosphere that leads the country to exit its current economic situation.
"As we’ve seen, without a new political atmosphere, Turkey hasn’t been able to find a way out [from its current economic situation]," Tatlioglu said.
He added: "We can only get out of this poverty trap by changing the political will."
The IYI Party's deputy chair, for his part, said that Turkey is growing poor, while its trade deficit gets larger.
"We are in the second rank in inflation worldwide. We can’t produce any technology. In employment, we’re breaking records in the republic’s history," Erhan Usta said.
Turkey's unemployment rate in August was 13.2%, down 0.8 percentage points year-on-year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
In July, the country's unemployment rate was 13.4%.
- Eastern Mediterranean
Also speaking during the debate, a top official of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said his party supports the ruling party’s policy in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"It is not acceptable to try to imprison our country, which has the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, to the Gulf of Antalya on the ‘Seville map,’ which is not binding in international law," said Levent Bulbul, deputy group chair of the MHP, which votes with the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
He criticized views that try to hem in Turkey in the Mediterranean as “bizarre.”
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Ankara has sent several drill ships in recent months to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkish officials have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiation.
- Presidential system
Also speaking during the debate, the co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) criticized Turkey's presidential system.
"Turkey, as the result of a regime that does not recognize the rule of law, is facing its biggest crisis," Mithat Sancar said.
"The [country's] presidential system is another name to make the state of emergency permanent in the country," he added, referring to the one-year state of emergency following the 2016 defeated coup, declared to capture the coup-plotters.
Sancar said the presidential system is one of the key factors moving the country towards disaster.
The Turkish public opted to shift to a presidential system in an April 2017 referendum.
In June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected president, Turkey’s first president under the new system.
Turkish officials have touted the benefits of the new system, saying it eliminates inefficiencies and enables the smoother working of the administration.