Turkish opposition slams Erdoğan for doubling aid to Africa during coronavirus outbreak

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has slammed the government’s decision to more than double its capital subscription to the African Development Bank to $800 million as the Turkish economy faces unprecedented threats from the coronavirus pandemic, Serkan Demirtaş wrote for Hürriyet Daily News.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) brought up the issue at the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on March 11, after the bank announced in late 2019 it was raising its capital from $90 billion to $200 billion.

The rise in capital at the ADB meant that Turkey would have to raise its subscription by $440 billion to retain its voting power of 3.8 percent, Demirtaş quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran as saying at the meeting. On March 19, parliament passed a law to do just that, raising the amount pledged by Turkey from $358 million to $800 million, and also authorising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to increase that amount by up to five times.

The decision falls in line with the AKP’s long-term policy on expanding its influence in Africa, but it came at a time when the Turkish political agenda was already full with the pressing concerns raised by the coronavirus, and opposition politicians were not happy, Demirtaş said.

“One out of four youngsters is unemployed. Depression stemming from the economic crisis and unemployment is deepening within society,” Demirtaş quoted Aydın Sezgin, the deputy leader of the centre-right nationalist Good Party, as saying. “Considering the impacts of the coronavirus measures on our economy, it is quite obvious that we are not in a place to be so generous to the African Development Bank.”