Kilicdaroglu vows Turkey to continue pursuing balanced foreign policy
Turkish presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu says the economy will be a major element in the Turkish elections.
Turkish presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opponent to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, promised to rebuild trust in the government and "offer brand-new investment opportunities" to the international community.
Recent surveys show Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu in a heated presidential race along with two other candidates. If none of them receives a clear majority in the first round of voting, the top two contenders will face off in a second round on May 28.
In a written interview for Nikkei Asia, Kilicdaroglu said that "we have seen the appetite" of global investors in Turkey.
Pointing to Erdogan's unusual economic strategies, the chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) suggested that "the problem is that these investors have lost confidence in the government in Turkey."
Subsequently, "domestic and foreign investors shy away from investments that could lead to the manufacturing of high value-added products and increase employment," explained the joint candidate of the six opposition parties that make up the Nation Alliance, vowing to change the current situation.
The former Turkish Finance Ministry official has promised to raise $300 billion in investment over the next five years if elected.
According to Kilicdaroglu, Vietnam generated $27.2 billion in foreign direct investment in 2022, highlighting that this is equal to 6.6% of the Southeast Asian country's 410 billion gross domestic product (GDP).
"Apply the same ratio to us and it comes to $60 billion a year and $300 billion in five years," he pointed out.
#Turkey is preparing to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, 2023, in what is described as "the most important in the history of the country."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 1, 2023
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Kilicdaroglu indicated that the Turkish opposition has examined such examples from all over the world, arguing that "this strategy can offer brand new-investment opportunities, including financial instruments such as green bonds, social bonds and sustainability bonds."
Kilicdaroglu highlighted that the economy will be a major element in the elections, revealing that "in all the surveys conducted, we see that the most important expectation of citizens is to solve economic problems. Our credibility on this issue will bring us the highest score."
"Too many vulnerabilities have accumulated in the economy under this government. We aim to switch to conventional policies in monetary and financial areas without triggering these vulnerabilities and causing damage," he added.
Turkey's foreign policy
Touching on foreign policy, Kilicdaroglu said Turkey will continue pursuing a balancing act that benefits the country's interests, including with Russia, adding, "It would not be correct to restrict Turkey's foreign policy to a definition of being pro-East or pro-West."
"Of course, we will not turn back from our path of reaching the level of modern civilizations that we inherited from Ataturk. But it would be incomplete to read this as a policy orientated only toward the West," he underlined.
"It is true that we are a member of Western institutions and organizations, but Turkey has never neglected the East despite being a member of these institutions. Both our view of Asia and our view of Europe are based on a complementary and integrative foreign policy approach," Kilicdaroglu explained.
Regarding Turkey's G20 membership, the presidential candidate said, "We are together with both China and the USA in this forum where global policies are discussed."
He continued, "Likewise, our relations with Russia, an important global actor in our geography, are very balanced," adding that it is false to believe that any Turkish foreign policy inclination is harmful to other geographies or actors.
"Our foreign policy will proceed with the same balanced approach as it has traditionally been since the foundation of the Republic."
Kilicdaroglu's stance on Sweden's NATO accession
Regarding his position on Sweden's NATO accession, which is currently awaiting ratification in the Turkish parliament, Kilicdaroglu considered that "it is difficult to predict when our parliament will be formed after the elections and put this issue on its agenda."
"If everything goes well, Turkey's expectations and sensitivities are taken into consideration, and the agenda of the Turkish parliament creates a favorable opportunity, we can think that Sweden's membership will not be delayed too much," he pointed out.
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