Poor leadership of Turkey’s Erdogan, based on loyalty without merit is responsible for rising unemployment and shrinking home sales.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s poor leadership based on loyalty without merit is similar to that of late-Ottoman sultans and may lead to his own demise, analysts Oğuz Alyanak and Ümit Kurt said in an independent global media organisation openDemocracy.
Turkey’s good governance has been gradually replaced by appointments based on a loyalty to Erdoğan, the analysts wrote, citing several controversial appointments in his ruling party.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has come under criticism for doing away merit-based governance over its almost two decades in power.
The Turkish president named his son-in-law as the country’s finance minister after being sworn in for another five-year term in 2018.
Alyanak and Kurt pointed the appointment of two-time Olympic champion wrestler, Hamza Yerlikaya, to the board of Turkey’s third-largest public bank; Ebubekir Şahin, head of the Supreme Council on Radio and Television being elected to the board of another prominent public bank and Mustafa Sancar, chairman of the Ankara Zoo, who was appointed as deputy chairman of the publication of the Scientific and Technical Research Council.
‘What do all of these people have in common? Their ties to the AKP, and their public praise for its leader, Erdoğan,’’ the analysts said.
The analysts also mentioned Melih Bulu, whose appointment by Erdoğan as the rector of Boğaziçi University led to mass student protests in İstanbul and other cities across Turkey. The analysts said that Bulu, who is accused of plagiarising in his doctoral thesis, is not loyal to science.
The analysts pointed out that late Ottoman history represents a good example of loyalty-based governance.
‘What brought the Ottomans down was primarily a type of governance not so unlike the one he is pursuing today,’’ the pair said.
A prominent statesman and the founder of Ottoman modernism (Tanzimat) Mustafa Reşit Paşa challenged the choices of the sultan to appoint statesmen to deal with Ottoman domestic and foreign affairs and feared that the actions of the sultan would poorly represent governance and lose power and prestige, the analysts said.
Abdülhamid II, like Mahmud II, often surrounded himself with loyal statesmen who lacked strategic insight. The sultan was renowned for naming the descendants of ulemas, or prominent theologians, to the Empire’s highest governing posts, they added.
Rising Unemployment in Turkey
As per reports, Turkish youth unemployment has increased to 27 percent, according to statistics from the Turkish government’s statistics authority (TÜİK).
However, there is widespread belief that the official statistics do not begin to account for the scale of unemployment in Turkey. Turkey’s pro-government press are claiming that year on year, unemployment fell to 12.9 percent in November 2020, from 13.3 percent the same month in 2019. This seems unbelievable, with statistics showing that the number of people losing hope for even getting a job increasing drastically.
“Total number of people who say “I do not look for a job because I have no hope of finding a job but I will work if there is a job”
2018 November: 522 thousand
2019 November: 715 thousand
November 2020: 1 million 674 thousand (the fourth record in the measurement date in a row)”
“Number of university graduates who say “I do not look for a job because I have no hope of finding a job, but I will work if there is a job”
2018 November: 87 thousand
November 2019: 128,000 (record in measurement history)
November 2020: 309k (new record in measurement history)”
Some commentators believe that the real youth unemployment level is much higher than by TÜİK. The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) has published its own statistics, which estimate that the total unemployment rate is 28.8 percent, rather than 12.9 percent, which only accounts for ‘active job seekers’.
“1- Narrowly defined youth unemployment announced by TÜİK is 25.4 percent. With the addition of those who lose hope of finding a job, only seasonal workers and those who will work immediately if they do not seek a job, the broadly defined youth unemployment is 40.5 percent. Moreover, those who receive unpaid leave and short work allowance are shown in employment.”
Al-Monitor also identified a “growing trend of alienation from education” in their report, with 66 percent of students unsatisfied with the education they have received in Turkey, according to a Habitat Association survey. This corresponds with my own research this week, looking at the reasons why people have decided to emigrate from Turkey in recent years, with 36 percent of people who responded to my questionnaire giving educational reasons for leaving Turkey.
I think we can conclude from this that the Turkish government’s efforts to interfere in Turkey’s education system to produce a ‘pious generation’ of Turkish youth, especially through their promotion of religious Imam Hatip schools. Since 2012, the Turkish government has plowed money into these schools, and the number of students attending them, compared to schools with a more secular curriculum, has increased hugely.
Although the proportion of adults in Turkey who attained a university level education doubled from 2008-2018 to 33 percent, the employment opportunities for graduates also fell in that time by 6 percent, according to the OECD. Turkey is not creating or attracting the kind of employers who want to hire university graduates, and so it is no surprise that many of them want to leave the country.
There is also a political aspect to employment in Turkey. The influence of the ruling Justice and Development Party on many business sectors is huge. Being friendly with government networks is a necessity for many businesses, and the widespread knowledge of this patronage system makes the Turkish public aware that employment in Turkey is not meritocratic, but often based on who you know.
As dissatisfaction with the Turkish government’s policies grows, there is a growing class of people who will feel that they are at a disadvantage in the jobs market because they are not government supporters. Attacks on educational institutions like Boğaziçi University in Istanbul will further convince educated students that they have no prospects in Turkey, and should leave the country for work and further study.
Just last month, President Erdogan called student protesters ‘terrorists’, while on 10 Feb. he was saying that “”I now see every person of our almost 84 million population as a member of our party”. The Turkish state behaves like an abusive parent towards its children, alternately terrorising them, then saying it loves them. Perhaps, rather than constantly interfering in their lives as part of a kulturkampf for the soul of Turkey, it should simply leave them alone.
Turkish home sales shrink by 38 percent as mortgage lending slumps
As per another report, Turkish sales of new and existing homes slid by an annual 38 percent in January, reversing an 11 percent increase in December, Turkish Statistical Institute figures showed.
Sales fell to 70,587 units from 113,615 units in January 2020, the institute said on Monday.
Turks are purchasing fewer homes after the central bank more than doubled its benchmark interest rate to 17 percent since September and the country was struck by a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate hikes, designed to defend the lira and rein in inflation, have reversed a boom in sales of apartments and houses as borrowing costs surged.
Purchases of homes via mortgages slumped by an annual 75 percent in January to 10,732 units, the institute said.
The average cost of a housing loan has jumped to 18.1 percent this month from 9.1 percent in July, according to central bank data.
Points to Ponder
Turkey wants to oust US from Middle East and establish Neo-Ottoman Empire with help from China and other US enemies. Turkey is increasingly becoming strategic partners in an effort to work with Iran and Russia and remove the US from the Middle East. This is Turkey’s overall goal, and the recent conflicts and chaos it has spread from Syria to Libya, the Mediterranean and Caucasus are designed to partition these areas into Russian and Turkish spheres of influence. This Goal of Turkey is in accordance with Erdogan’s dream of establishing Neo-Ottoman Empire. But all this at what cost? Heavily tax the taxpayers, create no jobs, once the unemployment increases, lure the unemployed youths to become terrorists and serve the Emperor Erdogan’s conquest in establishing Neo-Ottoman empire in other countries by joining other terrorists hired by Turkey from Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon?
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