The Turkish government has failed to decrease interest rates since it came to power in 2002 and giving new promises that it will do so after the June 24 elections is not realistic, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, criticizing the deteriorating state of the economy especially after last year’s controversial constitutional amendments.
“He [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] says he is against interest rates. He says he will lower them. He couldn’t deliver it in the last 16 years but he says he will do it on June 24,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a rally in the southern province of Mersin on May 14.
Kılıçdaroğlu said Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials had promised a better economy in the wake of the April 2017 referendum, which seeks to shift the governance system from a parliamentary one to an executive presidency.
“Remember what they said before April 16 [2017 referendum]? ‘The euro will fall, the dollar will fall and inflation rates will fall,’ they said. But what happened? Inflation rates, the dollar and the euro have all skyrocketed. And the value of the Turkish Lira has kept falling,” he said.
“The solution to change this picture and to bring about a beautiful Turkey is in the hands of the Turkish people,” the CHP leader said. “We will change this picture together. Our presidential candidate is a teacher who raised thousands of children… We want to say ‘Enough.’”
‘Syrians to return home’
Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu also spoke about the approximately three million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. They will return to their home country after Turkey has provided all necessary comfort and infrastructure, Kılıçdaroğlu said, vowing a “pro-peace” foreign policy if elected in the June 24 snap elections.
“We will make an open call to all our neighboring countries on June 25: ‘Peace at home, peace in the world,’ as once said by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. We will say just one word to our neighbors: Peace. We will say just one word to the world: Peace,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP is running for parliament as part of a four-party alliance against the “People’s Alliance” made up of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“We will build the houses and parks of our Syrian brothers. Then we’ll let them head back to their homeland. We don’t want Syrians to live in a miserable way here,” he said.
“A Syrian is able to open a shop and be treated as a first class citizen but our citizens open a shop and pay taxes,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that the reason why Turkey is hosting millions of Syrians is “the policies pursued by this government and the wrong calculations of its leader.”