Friday, February 25, 2011
First, the good news: The family insurance scheme is finally up at the CHP's web site (in Turkish only). And it is the headline item, as it should be, so I guess me and all the many other critiques were right after all... BTW, a reader just noted that it was already there, but it definitely wasn't on the front page in the morning, as both me and Atilla Yesilada could not find it.
BTW, Radikal has asked their economics columnists what they make of the CHP's economic program, or rather the rough sketch of it as outlined by CHP top brass Umut Oran in his Radikal interview. Unfortunately, the article seems to be in the hardcopy version of the paper only, as I could not find it on their web page. In general, while the columnists applaud the end-results (i.e. objectives) of the program, they want to know about the means: For example, the party is aiming for 7 percent growth. How will they achieve that, given the country's savings-investment gap, and their claims that they will also cut the current account deficit? It is not that it can't be done; it just has to be spelled out. Or vague statements like "shifting the economy from hot money to production" need to be cleared up. While these are better than nothing, I hope they will release a serious document soon.
And as my general comment on the CHP's inability to provide effective opposition to the AKP: An expat friend (vital to stress for objectivity), who had read the insults and my answer, highlighted that many many well-educated, upper-class Turks tell her that there is really no viable alternative to the AKP. So throwing insults even at friendly advice is what I call the ostrich strategy: Bury your head in the sand and ignore the reality, living happily ever after in your dream world...
And it seems that the CHP footsoldier who attacked me this morning following my post on the party's undisclosed economic policy is by no means a lone wolf. Atilla Yesilada told me that the Artvin branch of the Ataturkcu Dusunce Dernegi (Kemalist Thought Institute) reproached him on TV for supporting the AKP's economic program. The poor guy is confused, trying to figure out whose side he is on. Sounds like me... I have really grown sick of people who are asking me why I work for a pro-AKP guy when they hear my work for polling firm KONDA, only because its founder, ex-CHP deputy Tarhan Erdem, has dared to criticize the part. All part of of the same witch hunt!
Speaking of the footsoldier, I never answered her insults, but just commented on their general tone. I just have two small comments for her: First, she claims I am wasting people's time. As I have said many many times before, unlike Besiktas, I am not forcing anyone to follow me, so anyone who finds reading my stuff a waste of time will never read it again. In fact, she should do that as well. Second, she claims no one finds my stuff interesting. She should go and check the popularity of my Hurriyet columns. Obviously, I am not Martin Wolf or Paul Krugman, but still my statistics depict a rather different picture.
BTW, I should say I am also thankful to her for providing my expat friend with a good text to study Turkish idiomatic slang. I translated for her "ipe sapa gelmez" and "cigeri bes para etmez" as "good for nothing". She is very happy with her new vocabulary.
Finally, I couldn't help but wonder whether the footsoldier got mad because of my calling Deniz Baykal "Denise the Menace". For that, I would argue that many think like me on Mr. Baykal's contributions to the CHP's perennial role in the opposition, as accenuated by this excellent caricature: