As Turkey faces a historic economic crisis, with inflation at an all-time high and energy prices soaring, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned his MPs that they are not doing enough to explain the government's economic moves to their constituents, according to reporting by BBC Turkish.
At the Justice and Development Party (AKP) group meeting on March 2, attended by high-level ministers including Vice President Fuat Oktay, Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Murat Kurum, Minister of Treasury and Finance Nureddin Nebati, and Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, among others, Erdoğan chastised his party’s representatives.
"We have done a lot to prevent our citizens from being crushed under this burden, but we do not sell what we’re doing as much as necessary, we do not tell the public enough,” he said.
The meeting was closed to the press, but sources told the BBC that he told the MPs they must show people that the AKP “has a solution to the problems,” that they have their “own projects, own vision.” He said that explaining the AKP’s economic stance would make the party’s “hand stronger.”
Erdoğan and the AKP have come under heavy fire for their economic policies in recent months. Starting in September, Erdoğan encouraged the Central Bank to begin a process of lowering interest rates, which resulted in skyrocketing foreign exchange rates and all-time high inflation levels.
This has hit Erdoğan hard - in recent polling, the opposition coalition is ahead. Further, in a move that seemed to signify insecurity with the party’s election chances, Erdoğan said he would personally choose MPs that will run for office in the planned 2023 elections.
At the meeting, Erdoğan also criticized the opposition for their outspoken critique of his policies.
“For 20 years, they have been doing nothing,” he said. “They act as if they have a project, that they are going to come to power and they are going to solve the problems. But do not forget that we are the ones who will solve the problems.”