Dec 11 2017

Erdoğanomics revisited

Many of Turkey’s ruling AK Party’s most important foreign and domestic policy moves have been motivated by a need to keep state contracts flowing to their top supporters, journalist Suzy Hansen wrote in the left-leaning U.S. magazine, the Baffler.

Backers of party leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “promptly zeroed in on something they saw as an impediment to their own rapid growth: the tough new public procurement law (PPL) designed by the IMF and the World Bank,” she said.

The AK Party was unable to simply drop the PPL, so it killed it with a thousand cuts, she said, making more than 150 changes to the law since it came to power.

Then, “the PPL law was repeatedly criticised by the European Council for many ills – a clear lack of transparency, and the absence of any coherent legal regulatory framework among them,” she said, linking this to Erdoğan’s turn away from the West.

Hansen’s article dwells heavily on the work of Esra Çeviker Gürakar, an academic who focuses on public procurement and how the AK Party’s megaprojects conceal a transfer of wealth and power to the party’s backers: something she emphasises is no new phenomenon in Turkish politics.

“Turkey’s corporatist and clientelist policy-making structure has soon proven to be resistant to change,” Hansen quotes Gürakar as saying, “It has indeed been strengthened by the dominant coalition of the ‘Islamist counter-elite.’”