Dedicated to political mobilization to rejuvenate the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and get rid of "mental fatigue," a term used by AK Party Chairman and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, officials have launched economic projects to address the macroeconomic and microeconomic issues in Turkey.
The AK Party Economic Affairs Department has initiated a project titled "City Economies," which encompasses 81 Turkish provinces. AK Party Economic Affairs Chairman Cevdet Yılmaz elaborated on the objectives of the City Economies project, saying that the project will determine the issues of priority on the economic agendas of cities across the country, rather than addressing each and every provincial economic issue.
As every city and region across Turkey has its own unique discussions and varying economic priorities, Yılmaz said: "Solely focusing on macroeconomic issues will not yield good results for Turkey's future. We need to dive into the sectorial and spatial micro levels." Therefore, the AK Party's latest project will not only address macroeconomic issues but will also identify the microeconomic expectations of the Turkish people, as it has been deemed implausible to tackle the entire country's problems without first addressing microeconomic agendas. The study, in the end, will help shape the party's policies.
According to Yılmaz, the City Economies project will gather data via three channels, the first being field surveys which will include face-to-face interaction with the people to better understand the perspectives, preferences and priorities of local citizens.
The second channel will be through meetings held at the AK Party's provincial and district headquarters, while the last medium will focus on consultations with nongovernmental organizations (NGO), unions and universities. AK Party officials will examine the data compiled from these three channels and set the priorities for each province, respectively. Regarding urgent matters which require an immediate solution, AK Party leaders will refer these matters to the relevant governmental or state bodies.
Yılmaz said the study has significantly matured and pilot practices will soon start. After the completion of field surveys over a period of three-to-four months, work will commence at AK Party's headquarters.
"Being able to efficiently identify the issues the Turkish people care about most is essential. Sometimes, the bureaucratic angle prevents us from truly grasping the agenda of the people. However, going into the field and establishing face-to-face relationships with the people enables us to see and comprehend the actual matters of the people," Yılmaz said, highlighting the project's aim.
He went on to comment about the recent macroeconomic data and the midterm economic program, emphasizing that the Turkish economy will sustain its growth in the third and fourth quarters of the year. "We are expecting more than 7 percent growth in the third quarter," he noted.
Recalling that Turkey ranks third among G20 countries - after China and India -in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Yılmaz indicated that an expansion above 7 percent will place Turkey at the top among the G-20.
Turkey's midterm economic plan foresees 5.5 percent growth until 2020, Yılmaz noted, saying that if the country manages to fulfill these expectations, the GDP will exceed $1 trillion and the per capita income will be above $13,000. This data, he emphasized, will place Turkey among the high-income countries. Turkey's current GDP stands at around $900 billion, and its per capita income hovers around $10,700.
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