Economy

Peace at Home, Peace in the World? Two scenarios for Türkiye after the elections

Date: May 6, 2023.
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I give more than 20 speeches a month, at home and abroad. I publish comments on my website, social media, Turkish and international newspapers, and portals followed by millions of people. No matter how busy my schedule gets, I always make sure that I do my homework before writing an article, giving a speech or sharing my thoughts on social media. I make time to review my previous presentations so that people do not say, “you said something different a few months ago”. Obviously, we are living in an era of constant change, and in line with this change, expectations do not remain the same either. However, in order to be consistent, it is necessary to make estimates that suit different scenarios. For example, my first scenario regarding the post-election period in Türkiye suggests that:
  • No matter who emerges victorious from the elections, the first thing they must do is to start a gradual transition to the free market economy.
The alternatives to this scenario are:
  1. Immediate Return to Orthodox Policies: which would be an unwise move. Both foreign exchange rates and interest rates would rise rapidly, whilst inflation soars then falls sharply.
  2. Insist on the Controlled Economic Model: the outcome would be a disruptive rupture from market logic, not only at national but also at international scale. Black-market transactions would peak because the country’s foreign currency reserves and operations do not have the necessary power to prevent turbulences. There would be an astronomical gap between inflation and the cost of living. Consequently, the government would resort to a drastic foreign exchange regulation. Just like in the first alternative scenario, interest rates and inflation would rise quite rapidly.
So, since the outcomes of the first and second courses of action would be quite similar to one another, a gradual transition seems like the best option.

Justice Reform is a Priority

This scenario would primarily involve the enactment of regulations to improve the autonomy of constitutional institutions, the rule of law, social justice and the right to equal representation, and then the implementation of a new economic model. After all, politics alone cannot survive in a country where citizens cannot satisfy their essential needs. A society that is afraid to question whether its taxes are used productively by the government to provide it with benefits, and is unable to make its voice heard about priorities, will never prosper. The state exists not to make some citizens wealthy and powerful, but to establish a peaceful environment for all its citizens to live healthily and happily. Instead of creating masses living in anxiety, the state must create individuals who pursue their interests at their own free will, and make necessary arrangements so that personal interests do not supersede this, and is not in conflict with the interests of society. The alternatives to this scenario are:
  1. Continuing with Security Policies: this would mean to carry on with the presence of “controlled tensions“ in both domestic and foreign politics.
In this case, the society would divide further, while the country would fluctuate between hostility and rapprochement. State administration would be built entirely on short-term cooperation and allegiance rather than earning and merit. Under this scenario, the government would produce mega projects, supposedly to scare internal and external enemies instead of looking after society’s interests and priorities. With policies that protect a select few business magnates from competition, the country’s resources would get wasted and the economy would suffer from volatile growth. Foreign exchange rates, interest rates and inflation would continue to rise simultaneously. In the end, we would unwillingly fade into a fully controlled market economy while getting slowly disconnected from the modern world.
  1. State Capitalism: This model, in which the economy is run entirely by the state and foreign institutions, pushes out the domestic private sector, enabling the state to strengthen its sovereignty by drawing power from foreign capital, to which it provides various privileges. Although state capitalism guarantees each citizen a job, their civil rights and liberties, on the other hand, are restricted.The only difference in this system, which is derived from the former Eastern Bloc regime, is that citizens are granted freedoms such as career advancement, unrestricted traveling, and so on, provided that they do not use their professional skills in politics. Whilst a monetary board in lieu of a central bank monitors and maintains the value of the national currency, the quantity and the price of goods and services are offered to the public as deemed appropriate by the government. A country ruled by state capitalism eventually gets disconnected from the modern world.
As both models explained above do restrict civil rights and liberties, they do not comply with the founding philosophy of the Republic of Türkiye. The eventual fate of people living under such regimes is obvious. Therefore, it is best to transition to democracy first and then choose an economic model. Private savings are the source of investments, so it should not be that difficult to decide on a model, since we know that classifying private savings as “domestic“ or “foreign“ is only correct in terms of their origin, and that having people’s “trust and confidence“ is far more important.

Democracy and rule of law 

The only way to ensure a stable growth and development is through democracy, enhanced by the rule of law. To achieve these goals, it is necessary to adopt parliamentary democracy with all its debates, differences of opinion and ultimately its culture of reconciliation. To believe that debates or discussions are a waste of time is also to ignore the will of people. When we do that, we lose the added value brought by reconciliation, and stand as an obstacle to potential benefits to the society. Socrates, Nizam al-Mulk, Sheikh Edebali, Ibn Khaldun, Descartes, Voltaire, John Adams, John Stuart Mill and of course Atatürk, all emphasised the same reasoning, approaches, and warnings in their works and in their speeches. A healthy functioning state relies on qualified, healthy, educated, peace-loving and thinking individuals. Let’s not forget that there are and have been wise men who cautioned the world about Putin and other leaders like him. Atatürk, for example, having foreseen the rise of fascism, warned the humanity about Hitler and Mussolini, long before his death in 1938. Türkiye’s internal peace would undoubtedly contribute to world peace. Once the elections are over, Türkiye needs to take steps to protect world peace. But first of all, it must establish internal peace. It has done so before; I’m sure that it will do it again.
Source TA, Photo: Shutterstock