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Main opposition party offers 13 corona suggestions to the government

To its credit, the Erdogan administration is “inventing as it goes”, adding new rules each day to prevent the further spread of the virus, as well as to mitigate the economic pain.  Yet, its chronic inability of taking advice “from cross the isle” could retard the efforts.  The main opposition party, CHP put forth a 13-article package of proposals, which it wants to be taken seriously by the administration

Main opposition party offers 13 corona suggestions to the government

Turkey is one of the latest passengers of the coronavirus bandwagon, therefore it is certain to commit mistakes in the handling of it—as other victimized countries had. Indeed, a survey by Turkish Physicians Association revealed that 66% of medical staff experienced shortages of masks, while 40% had not received any training in dealing with infectious diseases. Most economists criticize the weak economic measures announced to combat the economic fallout, in particular the reluctance to help workers who are being laid off, while heaping the burden of mitigating the damage on small and medium enterprises to banks, rather than the central budget.

 

To its credit, the Erdogan administration is “inventing as it goes”, adding new rules each day to prevent the further spread of the virus, as well as to mitigate the economic pain.  Yet, its chronic inability of taking advice “from cross the isle” could retard the efforts.  The main opposition party, CHP put forth a 13-article package of proposals, which it wants to be taken seriously by the administration. More participatory democracy never hurt anyone, could adopting these proposals help fight the outbreak?  Probably.

 

“Programme on the fight against Covid-19” as announced by CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu”

 

Despite the pretentious title, the list contains some valuable advice. Here are the proposals from the main opposition party:

  1. “The Economic and Social Council”, which has not convened since February 2009 and is a Constitutional establishment, must be convened immediately. The Council must continue to meet periodically throughout the ongoing developments. All of the relevant parties must be invited to the Council meeting, including but not limited to the Turkish Medical Association, the Turkish Pharmacists’ Association, the Union of Turkish Chambers of Agriculture, the Federation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey. No one must be left out.
  2. Medical and accommodation needs of healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals must be prioritized and met immediately.
  3. Staff shortages in public healthcare facilities must be solved quickly and those healthcare professionals who have been dismissed by the Decree Law and for whom no final judgment was passed must be reinstated.
  4. Being of vital importance both in the fight against the pandemic and in terms of national security, military hospitals must be reopened without delay.
  5. Utmost care must be taken to ensure coordinated operation of the central government and municipalities in the fight against the pandemic. Efforts to overcome the problem at hand, initiated by those municipalities which are not from the governing party, should not be hindered. In this context;

No deduction should be made from the funds issued to municipalities by the

Ministry of Treasury and Finance and the Ilbank for one year, and municipalities’ borrowing limits must be increased.

Electricity, water, and natural gas supply to households should not be cut off due to outstanding debts to municipalities or distribution companies. Additionally, no interest must be charged for the outstanding debts.

 

  1. As far as the businesses, which have been temporarily closed by Presidential or Ministerial decisions, are concerned;
  2. Rent expenses of the craftsmen (excluding Shopping Centres) must be met by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
  3. Wages of workers employed in such businesses (excluding those benefiting from the short-term work allowance) must be paid based on the minimum wage through the Unemployment Insurance Fund and for as long as the business remains closed.
  4. Credit card or consumer loan debts of the employees of such businesses must be postponed by the banks for three months without any interest charge.
  5. Farmers’ debts must be restructured so as to be postponed for one year without any interest charge.
  6. Nearly 100,000 substitute teachers as well as up to 90,000 course teachers assigned to Public Education Centres have found themselves without wages when the Ministry of National Education had to shut down the schools. Urgent legislative action is required to bring relief to these teachers.
  7. The GNAT must swiftly pass a “trade registry amnesty” to enable small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to obtain bank loans.
  8. Bank loans owed by businesses in tourism, entertainment, accommodation and transportation and similar sectors, which will be hit the hardest by the pandemic, must be restructured. The Law introducing the “Tourism Promotion Fund” and the “Accommodation Tax” must be repealed.
  9. A law on “Family Relief Insurance” must be passed immediately, providing each poor family with TRY 2,000 minimum revenue assurance so that the poor and the unemployed do not have to think about the bills they cannot pay while they struggle with their health.
  10. Healthcare staff, who work around the clock risking their own health during the pandemic, must receive double pay each month throughout the crisis. Additionally, the long-awaited “law on preventing violence in healthcare” by healthcare staff must be passed without delay.
  11. Any payments to contractors of motorway, tunnel, bridge, city hospital and airport PPP projects with Treasury debt assumption commitments must be postponed for one year and such guarantees must be converted to Turkish Lira.

 

It is encouraging to see that on Tuesday night, the Erdogan administration was adopting article 6 and 10.

 

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