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07/25/2023

7th anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt; Price hikes one after the other; Debates on NATO

7th anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt; Price hikes one after the other; Debates on NATO

7th anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt

Türkiye commemorated the martyrs on the 7th anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt by the US/NATO-backed Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the ceremony to commemorate the seventh anniversary of July 15:

“I respectfully commemorate all the brave individuals who selflessly embraced martyrdom without hesitation for the preservation of our homeland’s security and the well-being of our nation, ranging from our counter-terrorism efforts to operations beyond our borders. I express my gratitude to all my brothers and sisters who have been honored with the title of veteran, on behalf of my country and nation, and I wish them good health and a prosperous, long life.

(…)

July 15 is such a milestone for us. It is one of the most significant phases of our thousand-year struggle to make the Anatolian lands our homeland and our 200-year struggle for survival.

(…)

I want to emphasize once again that on the night of July 15, we not only thwarted a bloody and treacherous coup attempt but also wrote a great epic that will be proudly and honorably recounted from generation to generation.”

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu shared a message on the anniversary:

“On the 7th anniversary of the July 15th treacherous coup attempt, I condemn the treacherous terrorist organization that targeted our democracy and our nation. I commemorate with mercy our 251 martyrs who died for the sake of democracy. I express my gratitude to our veterans. We will never forget how they turned Türkiye into a dictatorial regime through the state of emergency declared on July 20th (5 days after the attempted coup). We will definitely uncover the political branch of the treacherous terrorist organization and hold all the perpetrators of this bloody and dark structure to account.”

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli made a statement on the issue:

“July 15th is not just an ordinary coup attempt. Nor is July 15th a maverick attack and assassination mechanism of a junta that has grown like a malignant tumor in the Turkish Armed Forces over time.

(…)

This is by no means a superficial issue because on July 15th, the fatal blow of a centuries-long war against the Turkish nation was staged.

Doğu Perinçek, Chairman of the Vatan Party, shared a message criticizing President Erdoğan’s steps concerning Sweden’s NATO membership: “Saying yes to NATO means saying yes to the July 15 FETÖ coup.”

Price hikes one after the other

With the new Treasury and Economy Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who advocates a free-market economic model integrated with the West, price increases are continuing one after another.

After the recent fuel hike, different sections of society have started to raise objections.

The price increases are as follows:

“Regulations on the special consumption tax (SCT) on fuel were published in the Official Gazette with the signature of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and entered into force.

According to the decision, the SCT on the price of unleaded gasoline per liter increased from 2.52 liras to 7.52 liras, and the tax on the price of diesel per liter increased from 2.05 liras to 7.05 liras. In autogas, 5.77 lira SCT will be charged. In addition, the SCT amounts of products such as benzoyl, solvent naphtha and lubricant products were also increased.

There has been a price increase of 6 liras in the gasoline and diesel group, effective from today.

In Istanbul, the liter of gasoline increased from 28.05 liras to 34.05 liras and the liter of diesel from 26.32 liras to 32.32 liras.”

Following the increase in fuel prices, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu evaluated made a statement:

“A large group of people, 80-85 million people are affected by the price increases, but there are a handful of people who benefit from these. That’s why I say it is an economic genocide. Farmers, workers, pensioners, civil servants… Everyone suffers from this. All of them are paying the price of economic genocide. They are told ‘I gave you a raise in your salary’, but price increases are much higher than these salary increases.

(…)

Why am I calling it ‘economic genocide’? Because those who receive dollar-denominated tenders, those who lend to the state in dollars, those who hold deposit accounts in banks in dollars, those who guarantee currency-protected deposit accounts in dollars earn extraordinary income. Extraordinary… They don’t suffer any harm by the economic course in any way.”

Mustafa Destici, the leader of the ruling Grand Unity Party (BBP), also reacted to the price increases. Destici posted on his social media account:

“Raising the special consumption tax on fuel products by over 200 percent is not an acceptable and equitable arrangement.

(…)

Those who manage the economy should not take the easy way out and find the solution in indirect taxes by putting the burden on low-income producers and high-income earners at the same rate. This is not right and fair.

Fatih Erbakan, the leader of another partner of the government, the New Welfare Party, also evaluated the price increases:

“The increases in the value added tax rates, the high increases in all kinds of taxes and fees and lastly the exorbitant increase in the rate of special consumption tax on fuel: The high increases in indirect taxes have reached an unacceptable level. Seeking to meet the budget deficit through high increases in indirect taxes such as value added tax, special consumption tax and various fees leads to high increases in goods and services, triggers high inflation and weakens the purchasing power of our citizens. Increases in the minimum wage and civil servants’ salaries have been eroded by high tax increases and inflation.”

Vatan Party also made a statement on hikes. Hakan Topkurulu, the Party’s deputy chairman in charge of economic affairs, made the following assessments:

“The AK Party government was crushed by the economic challenges and once again tried to find a way out by embracing the West and neoliberal economic policies.

What really needed to be done was to redistribute these hardships to the rich and upper middle classes. They resorted to indirect taxes, namely value-added tax and special consumption tax, but not enough to corporation tax and income tax. This is the outcome of the neoliberal imposition that dates back to the 1980s and means higher taxes for the working classes and lower income groups.

The production economy model, which our Party describes as the ‘Production Revolution’, the key to a radical solution, must be switched to urgently.

Türkiye’s foreign exchange needs are very simple to solve. The major component of this need comes from the energy sector. We can easily develop a commodity swap with countries such as Russia, Iran and Iraq, from which we get our energy supply, eliminating the dollar.

This special consumption hike in energy will trigger hikes in everything. The steps taken by the government to ‘fight inflation’ are further increasing inflation. We will struggle against these policies impoverishing the Turkish nation.”

The Treasury and Finance Ministry also published a written statement. The Ministry stated that the special consumption tax was increased to ease the burden of earthquake-related spending on the budget. “The tax adjustment will also help bring the current account deficit under control”, the statement added. The ministry also noted that the special consumption tax has not increased since 2016 despite the increases in global oil prices and the exchange rates.

Debates on NATO

The debate that started with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s green light for Sweden’s NATO membership at the NATO summit in Vilnius is continuing.

Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the government partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), although saying “we will stand behind Türkiye’s strategic choices and decisions”, made some criticisms:

“Türkiye has justified and legitimate objections against Sweden’s membership. It is well known that Sweden refuses to distance itself from terrorism. Türkiye is not a tribal state that will tolerate impositions. How will we be in the same security organization with a country that threatens our national existence, embraces bloody terrorist organizations, and tolerates their recruitment in their own capital?

(…)

It is obvious that Sweden is indirectly under NATO protection and is one of the main bases of the US in Europe. It is NATO’s responsibility to observe Türkiye’s moral and legal arguments. Just because the US wants it, just because the US is blackmailing about the F-16, are we going to say okay to the humiliation? Stockholm is the same as Mount Kandil (where the PKK terrorist organization’s leaders are located – Uwidata). If Sweden reverses its policies, we don’t object to it. If we are going to be allies, we should be honest.

(…)

Everyone should know that the world does not only consist of NATO and the US. Yet, I am firmly declaring that we will stand behind Türkiye’s strategic choices and decisions.”

CHP Istanbul deputy to parliament and retired ambassador Namık Tan supported the government’s green light for Sweden’s NATO membership. Tan made the following statements:

“Türkiye’s finally given green light to Sweden’s membership has created cautious optimism in the relevant circles. However, we would like to emphasize that we, as the Republican People’s Party, do not agree with the policy pursued up to this point. One man’s decisions and blackmail-like approaches have dealt a major blow to our credibility and predictability in the eyes of our friends and allies.

(…)

Just before the Vilnius Summit, President Erdoğan rightly asked in the context of Sweden’s membership, ‘How can a state that does not distance itself from terrorist organizations contribute to NATO?’ However, the President ignored the fact that Russia, which has been identified as a hostile country in the final declarations of the NATO summits of recent years, does not only support the PKK, but also allows the YPG’s official representative office in its capital city.”

A strong reaction to President Erdoğan’s remarks at the NATO meeting came from the Vatan Party. Party chairman Doğu Perinçek called for a ‘No’ vote in the parliament on Sweden’s membership. Perinçek said the following:

The AK Party government has signaled that it has reverted to the line that had begun in 1980, of begging for money from the world financial centers and indebting Türkiye. And the foreign policy of this line, of course, could be nothing but loyalty to NATO. These two are interlinked.

(…)

EU membership is a complete hoax. There is no way Türkiye can be accepted into the EU. The leaders of the EU have been saying from the beginning that they will not let Türkiye in. It is a club of the rich. Secondly, it is a Christian club. They are trying to tie Türkiye to the European gate and prevent it from turning towards Asia.

(…)

The government’s decision on Sweden is wrong for Türkiye’s security. Wasn’t it NATO that attempted a coup on July 15, 2016? There are NATO generals in Turkish prisons right now. NATO’s expansion aggravates the security threat to Türkiye. NATO is not a defense organization, but an organization for the US to control NATO members.”

United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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