Call for an all out campaign to address regional disparities

01 Dec 2006

Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) and UNDP’s newly released report on priority social and economic measures for east and southeast Anatolia regions calls for an all out campaign for 7 years in order to address the regional disparities in Turkey and inequalities within the region.

New Horizons - The report entitled ‘HIGH PRIORITY SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC POLICY SUGGESTIONS FOR EASTERN AND SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA’ was prepared by a team of independent investigators under the overall coordination of Dr. Orhan Kurmuş and launched on 22 November 2006 in Ankara.

Can Paker of TESEV and Mahmood Ayub, UNDP Resident Representative opened the launch event with key note remarks.

Kurmus presented the report to an audience of government officials, members of parliament and political parties, civil society representatives as well as participants from the business community. (For the power point presentation in Turkish, please  click here)

The Report poses a forceful argument: If the country is to end the regional disparities between the east and the west and resolve all the social problems accompanying the current situation of inequalities, then the country must front load on public investments.

This is possible, argues the Report, through public investments in health, education, infrastructure, urban rehabilitation and social policy, including an expanded cash transfer programme to poor households, through an all out campaign for 7 years. The Report is a first step in building consensus on the necessity of such an investment upload, recognizing the social problems in the country’s east and southeast are national problems and cannot be isolated to the populations of these regions. The contributions of such an all out campaign to boosting of solidarity and ties of citizenship are also significant, say the authors.

According to the Report, the costs of such an investment upload are affordable by Turkey, and would not compromise her current fiscal discipline. With less than 1% of Turkey’s GDP allocated to social spending, infrastructure rehabilitation and basic services for 7 years, the country can actually level the playing field in terms of opportunities and potential for local economic growth between the country’s east and west.

For an Executive Summary of the report in English and the full report in Turkish, please click: