Distinguished Members of the Press;
Today we would like to come together with you to
evaluate the year 2001. I would like to express my gratitude to you on
behalf of myself, and my colleagues.
As you may already know, our party since the day of
establishment is the number one party in the polls by a big margin.
During our visits to Anatolia the people we had talked, demanded from
us an evaluation of 2001, to show how bad the situation is in our
country. Starting from today we are planning to do these evaluations
As a political party, our main concern is to keep the
credibility of political institutions. If such institutions lose their
credibility and the politicians become ineffective when governing the
society, then we can't talk about democracy being in good hands.
Actually there is a direct correlation between the power of political
institutions and democracy. Politicians, who are supposed to be the
representatives of public, follow such lousy and inefficient ways in
doing their jobs that corruption in social and political life become
Actions taken by after 55th government were more of a
"let it go" type not a real democratization program. National program
that had been prepared under the compliance process to EU is not
realistic. Current government's vision weakens Turkey's claim of a
AK Party supports all policies that will bring
contemporary standards to Turkey. We think any change in constitution
is a positive start. For that reason our party voted all yes for the
constitutional change process in the Great National Assembly. Other
parties however rejected 3 articles out of 37. There are 57 new law
drafts to be passed in the national program package. It is hard to say
that all those laws to be passed in time and come to life immediately.
Today in Turkey, there still exists torture,
maltreatment, human right violations and imprisonment because of
thoughts. For that it is hard for us to make any progress in
We have no objection to government's policy of which
beneficial for the public. Current coalition government forces its
members to vote yes to any proposal in the Assembly. Apparently TBMM (Turkish
Great National Assembly) seems like to be controlled by the government,
but it should be the other way around. TBMM is the only sovereign, law
making body in the country.
Distinguished Members of the Press;
Turkey has to complete her homework and make all
changes for the sake of democratization and modernization of the
society. We need efficient, transparent, corruption free and
determined political administration.
Turkey became one of the leading countries in the
world in terms of human right violations and unjust income
distribution. 2001 was the worst year in deep economical crisis in 50
years. Every step this government takes, harm our national peace. We
get poorer and poorer every day. In two years thousands of villagers,
workers, civil servants, artisans, businessman, industrialists and
bankers lost their belongings, and many of them went bankrupt. First
time in history, artisans protested the government on the streets. The
scenes from the protests in Tandoğan Square had great resemblance to
57th government's performance was below the average
in educational policies. In the beginning, 8 years of compulsory
education had aimed to reduce the number of students in the classroom,
to promote full day schooling, to increase quality of language
programs, to bring computers to the classroom by latest 2000.
Unfortunately they failed to do so.
In year 2002, we still have waiting lines in front of
the hospitals. Basic health needs still can't be satisfied even in big
The government's plan on Eastern and Southeastern
Turkey is a total failure. It is nothing but empty talk.
Public lowered its expectations from the politicians
in year 2001. The most important happening of last year was the
formation of AK Party. Now, people have hope for the coming elections.
International relations had a new era after September
11th tragic attack on World Trade Center. Today any country that
provides home to people related with terrorism in a way should be
ready to be attacked by those countries suffered from terrorism. This
is the time of "cold peace".
Relations with EU are problematic in spite of
government's optimistic explanations. In 1999 Helsinki Summit Turkish
government made a commitment to solve Cyprus and Aegean issues. These
were the preconditions for the EU membership. Nevertheless our
commitment only helped Greek Part of Cyprus to be a full member to EU.
In Nice Summit EU changed his mind and decided not to accept Turkey as
an equal member. In Laecken last year Turkey was invited but it seems
that there is no space for Turkey in the Union even after 2005.
AK Party condemns terror no matter what type.
Surprisingly European countries classify terrorism into two: one that
is harmful for their being, and the other beneficial for their
interest. They don't mind the latter.
As a party we want Russian Federation to stop the
blood shed in Chechnya. The government kept quiet for weeks on sending
Turkish troops to Afghanistan. From the first day we claimed that
Turkish troops must be in support services not in the front lines. Now
the government came to the point where we were insistent. Now having
courage from the victory in Afghanistan, USA wants to attack on Iraq.
We hope that the prime minister brings that issue while visiting the
Relations with our neighboring countries were not any
better in 2001. Even the nationalist wing of the coalition government
(MHP) performed poorly in relations with Turkic Republics.
Lack of trust to the government had worsened the
situation last year. In developed countries the State is the
trustworthiest institution. Continuity of the state is essential
unlike changing government every now and then. When it comes to credit
rating, again State gets the highest rating given in that country, for
that reason state is the least costly institution to get credit.
Unfortunately our country lost its credibility in the international
arena and also lost support from its own people.
Last year the government signed stand-by agreement
with IMF and started a 3 year economical reform program. Inflation
could not be controlled and the interest rates climbed up to 7500%.
For a society economical growth rate is the best sign
of development and welfare. The countries that had their independence
in 1990's now had better conditions than Turkey. The economic growth
rate was - %8.5. In other words this year our economy got % 8.5
Public debt came to a point that the State should
declare emergency. Public debt to GDP ratio is giving bad signals.
This government budget consists of interest payments.
Heavy taxes and price increases every day go to finance the budget
deficit. Public spending is way above the government revenues. In 2001
for each 100 Turkish Lira government collected, went 105 TL as
interest payments. Public tax payments go to save the banks in bad
conditions. Still the government did not take necessary precautions to
privatize its enterprises.
Inflation rate was higher than ever last year.
Majority of our population had never seen one digit inflation rate in
their lives. Now the rate came to three digit levels.
Unjust income distribution threatens the country.
According to State Statistics Institution (DİE) data; poorest %5 of
the population owns %1 of the wealth. Richest %5 on the other hand,
owns %30 of the wealth. The measurements taken to improve such
distribution are insufficient. State Social Security Agency (SSK) and
other Social services are not capable of handling this problem.
Official data shows that only last year 827,000 workers had lost their
jobs. Unemployment is a more serious problem than any other year.
Today approximately 2 million people have no jobs. First time in
history white collared unemployment rate increased % 7.4 in one year.
The share of Agriculture in GNP is % 13.5, but its
share in total employment is %40. Revenues in agricultural fields
decreased 3 times in three years. Agriculture was ignored and there
was no structural policy being implemented in three years.
Year 2001 was not a good year for the tradesman and the industrialists
too. The credits were given with high interest rates, and many
businesses trusted the government and had received credits in dollars
before the crisis. As a result of horrendous increases in exchange
rates, many of the businesses had to be closed last year. Car sales
for instance dropped % 75 than 2000 sales.
In 2001 approximately 420,000 Small and Mid Size
Firms were out of businesses. They constitute %98 of country's total
businesses, %46 of employment and %37 of value added to the economy.
Industry consumes %50 of the electricity produced. As
a result of recess electricity consumption reduced %1.4. In developed
countries such consumption is expected to increase by two digit levels.
Value Added tax for oil was increased from %8 to %18 and an extra
%5 of Oil consumption tax were added. Natural gas prices skyrocketed
and many homeowners went back to the more primitive ways of heating
and quit that resource.
One of the most problematic sectors in Turkey is
banking. Actually this sector triggered the crisis last year. State
could not control private banks to channel their savings to their own
firms. Public banks losses are extremely high too. However the
government insists upon saving some banks and transfer funds through
Savings Insurance Fund.
Lack of confidence to the government, bureaucracy,
and uncertainties in the economy cause foreign investments and credits
leave the country. Turkey ranks in lasts according to UN Trade and
Development Organization's 2001 reports on foreign credit attraction.
Many foreign investors left the country last year.
Even though tourism and export revenues increased %13
(Jan-Sept. period) and %12.5( Jan-August period) respectively,
revenues from workers abroad decreased %35.8 last year.
As it is briefly explained above, economical problems
that Turkey faces today are difficult to solve. We as AK Party have
solutions to such problems like the following:
v Political Willpower: Such willpower consist not
only the government but also a method of combining domestic and
v Political Stability: Current government's understanding of
shortsighted and dead politics can't be named as political stability.
We need a stability that improves democracy and copes with crises.
v Credibility: Credibility means bringing Turkey's values in comply
with the international realities. Turkey must stop emphasizing his geo-political
importance in the world. Yes, especially after September 11, Turkey
regained its importance in the region, this issue should not be
brought to table every time as if we had nothing to say.
v Public Agreement: We need to come to a mutual understanding and
agreement to make our country one of the most powerful sources in the
v Honest Administration: Honesty should not only be a concept in our
private lives. It should be an effective strategic element in politics
and economy and it should definitely be institutionalized.
We are afraid that under this management 2002 will be
a year of loss too. We as AK Party will continue to do our best in
spite of all negativity from the government.
I say as my last words today "In a global world with
unlimited alternatives and possibilities, Turkey should be a big
flowing river, not just an ordinary branch".
Thank you for coming and thank you for your patience
for listening to me. I greet you with my warmest regards.