I don’t know about you, but when Mr. Mehmet Şimşek was appointed as Minister of Treasury and Finance, and especially when he gave the message that the economy would now be managed with rational policies, I felt a bit hopeful about the future. After all, inspired by the NAS verse, there was hope that the era of the authors of the book titled ‘What Absolutely Should Not Be Done in the Economy!’ was coming to an end and that reason would prevail once again.

Naturally, while trying to understand and explain those days, it became necessary to point out the ‘lame duck’ image of Mr. Şimşek, despite all his goodwill and strength. If rationality in the economy were limited to monetary policies, a rational Central Bank administration might suffice. However, right from the start, the image created by the perception of Ms. Gaye’s inadequacy seemed like a search for a scapegoat to buy some more time.

The common opinion of all the economists I respect was that ‘monetary policies are not enough, fiscal policies must also be implemented simultaneously.’ When we go a bit further, it becomes evident that the magical and seemingly impossible ‘structural reforms’ are essential for the economy’s survival.

In this context, we inevitably remembered the 1993 Copenhagen criteria set forth for countries aspiring to be full members of the EU. For those who have forgotten, let’s list the political criteria once again:

  • A functioning true democracy (unfortunately, our democracy currently appears to be at the lowest level of hybrid democracies)
  • A state that respects the rule of law (not just a state of law, to avoid misunderstandings)
  • An established system that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially those of minorities

Years ago, when it was understood that the EU door was not opening (it is worth noting the sins of EU politicians in this regard), it is worth recalling that the Copenhagen criteria were replaced by the Ankara criteria.

Yes, after these interim observations, let’s return to Mr. Şimşek.

In line with the undefined, or rather impossible to define, normalization/softening debates in domestic politics, does Mr. Şimşek have the power to enforce the European Court of Human Rights decisions? Surely, Mr. Şimşek knows as well as I do that without implementing the symbolic Demirtaş, Kavala, Atalay decisions, the economy will not return to its normal course.

So, is Mr. Şimşek a very powerful minister?

Yes, once he is discarded, it is understood by the presidential complex that the economy would worsen even more, so he cannot be dismissed. No, even though they are called ministers, all current ministers do not represent a position beyond high-level bureaucrats appointed by the presidential complex. Therefore, Mr. Şimşek’s power cannot go beyond the political perspective of the current People’s Alliance.

While pointing out the danger of the rising far-right in Europe, can the appearance brought about by the far-right, which has been ongoing in Turkey for years, be sustained?

In an article I wrote after the last congress where CHP’s Özgür Özel was elected as the chairman, I raised the questions, ‘If CHP changes, will Turkey change? If Turkey changes, will the world change?’

CHP has indeed changed, and the roadmap it follows seems correct for now. It could serve as an alternative center-left model against the far-right developments emerging in Europe.

Under these circumstances, as Mr. Şimşek sails towards an increasingly irrational line from the economic policies he deems rational, isn’t he preparing the end of an unsustainable government?

While structural reforms are suspended (even if AKP desires, due to MHP’s opposition), salaries (pensioners, civil servants, minimum wage) are arranged based on the highly criticized and disbelieved TÜİK data, and the criticized fiscal policies fall on the citizens of the Republic of Turkey as a nightmare in the form of excessive tax burdens, inevitably leading us to question whether Mr. Şimşek, with his controversial authority, is accelerating the end of the People’s Alliance.

‘The Central Bank’s coffers have started to fill up, haven’t they?’ you asked. If you offer the world’s highest interest rates, what will happen when the dollars that come in start to leave? Where are the permanent foreign investments?

‘We got off the gray list, to whom does this great success belong?’ you asked. Who and how did they put us on that list in the first place?

Neither Mr. Şimşek’s job nor ours, as ordinary Turkish citizens, is easy.

I would like to say ‘let’s not get discouraged,’ but these days, I find it hard to say so…

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