Turkey’s 2018 budget passes

Turkey’s 2018 budget passed through the country’s parliament by 305 votes to 124 after an 11-day marathon of talks, leftwing newspaper Evrensel said.

“In growth we overtook China and India, which always come first, to sit at the top of the list,” pro-government Sabah newspaper quoted Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım as telling the parliament before it went into 18 days of recess.

“It is important that Turkey be strong,” Yıldırım said. “Turkey is not itself alone; at the same time, Turkey means ‘Palestine’, it means ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Arakan’ (a Muslim-majority region of Myanmar), ‘Somalia’, and ‘Yemen’.”

The days-long budget debates saw extensive sparring between members of the government and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over corruption claims.

Opposition figures also had criticisms of the budget itself.

“There is no worker in this budget, no student, no small businessperson, no retiree,” CHP deputy Gülay Yedekçi said at one point, tearing up a draft of the bill.

The women’s section of public sector trade union KESK criticised budget cuts for the Family and Social Policy Ministry, calling the budget “gender-blind”.

“The Family and Social Policy Ministry budget is in line with a budget far from producing the necessary solutions for fundamental problems such as violence against women, low wages and job insecurity, discrimination in access to employment and public services, etc.” İzmir branch committee member Eylem Tunalı said in a statement.

In his closing statement, house speaker İsmail Kahraman said that he hoped that 2018 would be an easier year for both Turkey and the world.

“God willing, the year 2018 will be a year in which we will overcome our difficulties and see the punishment of traitors to the nation and treacherous gangs with blood on their hands,” Sabah quoted him as saying.


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