Working with McKinsey means allowing access to Turkish state’s secrets - opposition

Turkish government’s decision to work with the U.S. management consulting firm McKinsey & Company for reforming Turkey’s economic administration received harsh criticism from the opposition on social media. 

Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister, Berat Albayrak, on Thursday announced that the government decided to work with the international consulting firm, which would evaluate the progress in reaching economic targets and outcomes by preparing quarterly reports. 

McKinsey’s Ankara branch is run by Ali Üstün, the son-in-law of former Turkish Interior Minister, Beşir Atalay, who was sidelined by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan after the collapse of a peace process in Turkey that had been launched to solve the country’s Kurdish conflict. 

Durmuş Yılmaz, former President of the Central Bank of Turkey and the deputy of the right-wing Good Party, said on Twitter that the decision showed that the government was trying to overcome the economic crisis in Turkey by implementing an IMF program without IMF. “They will see, things will not go according to the plan,” Yılmaz said.

Yılmaz also told Turkish online channel Medyascope TV that handing over Turkish economy to McKinsey, is no different than raiding Turkish military’s room where top secret documents have been archived.

Selin Sayek Böke, an economist and a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also criticised the decision.

The decision demonstrates that the new executive presidential system has collapsed only in three months and in effect means handing over state’s top secret information to a U.S. company, she said. Sayek Böke also noted that the decision also meant making huge amounts of payments in dollars to a foreign company to run the Turkish state.

Many pointed that the decision conflicted with the notion of a sovereign state.

“Show me another respectable sovereign nation that hires a consulting company to put its economic house in order,” academic Evren Çelik Wiltse said on Twitter. “Bureaucratic structures, Ministries of Finance, Economy, Treasury and regulatory agencies sort out national monetary and fiscal policy, not McKinsey.”

“Turkey has hired McKinsey to help them in budget saving initiatives,” one twitter user said. “We appointed a trustee at our economy."

Journalist Sedef Kabaş noted that the Turkish government encouraged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters to boycott U.S. goods, blaming foreign powers for Turkish economy’s downturn, while, at the same time, shaked hands with a U.S. company to run its economy. “The government is clearly saying this: who cares AKP voters,” she said. 

Veteran left-wing politician Fikri Sağlar pointed the parallels between the deal between Turkish government and McKinsey and Treaty of Sèvres, which was signed in 1920 and marked the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. “Now they are handing over Turkish economy to those they call foreign powers. There is no more any need to find out the domestic extensions of those foreign powers,” Sağlar said.

Some said that, the deal between the Turkish government and McKinsey would not last long

“Turkey’s McKinsey deal won’t last long. Why? AKP doesn’t want to hear what it doesn’t want to hear. Firms like McKinsey are hired to tell their temporary bosses exactly what they didn’t want to hear or see in the first place,” academic Burak Kadercan said.

“Spoiler alert: a bunch of academically successful kids who don’t get enough sleep are going to prepare infinite power points which are intentionally recursive and don’t actually solve the problem so the fees continue forever,” another twitter user said.