Jan 18 2018

Erdoğan ’s state-jobs pledge prompts accusations of electioneering - FT

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  has issued a decree giving hundreds of thousands of temporary workers permanent jobs in state-run institutions, raising accusations that the move is designed to garner more votes ahead of elections due next year.

One such worker is Ersin Gulbahar, who has worked behind a desk at the Health Ministry for seven years, the Financial Times reported. He has been employed with low wages and few benefits, by small businesses that have blossomed under Erdoğan ’s stewardship.

Now Erdoğan  has had a change of heart, prompting the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to accuse him of electioneering. The CHP, the Financial Times said, had made a similar request concerning such subcontractors years ago, only to be told by the government that there was no money to fund it.

It wasn’t immediately clear what financial impact the measure, issued under Erdoğan ’s state of emergency powers, would have on the country’s finances – the budget deficit has doubled in the past few years as the government sought to stimulate the economy with tax cuts and other incentives. Turkey must also borrow from abroad to finance its burgeoning current account deficit.

Aziz Celik, an industrial relations expert at Kocaeli University, said the selection procedure for the new permanent jobs could be politicised as applicants have to sit an exam and pass a security screening, the FT reported. “Dissident or leftist subcontracted workers may face discrimination,” he said.