Ruling AKP accuses top business group of 'attempting to dynamite society's peace'

AKP General Secretary Fatih Şahin has accused the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) of “attempting to dynamite society's peace” after the group released a report calling for the democratic functioning of government amid growing concerns about the economy.

This file photo shows exchange offices in Istanbul.

Duvar English

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has severely criticized the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) after the latter issued a report calling for the Central Bank's independence and the democratic functioning of government amid growing concerns about the economy.

The remarks of condemnation about the TÜSİAD report came from AKP General Secretary Fatih Şahin.

“In the previous days, TÜSİAD prepared a report and announced it to the public. They have made some statements as if there is a discussion, problem in our country with regards to democracy and secularism. In fact, it is not very well understood what they are saying; they have mumbled some things about democracy. This shows that TÜSİAD is also longing for tutelage,” Şahin said on Oct. 20, as he addressed an event in Istanbul.

“And with this longing for tutelage, they have sat down and penned a report. I am thinking about the evaluation of all of these incidents. It is obvious that some people are trying to muddy the waters and dynamite our society's peace,” he said.

At the meeting of the TÜSİAD on Oct. 19, heads of the organization condemned moves by the government to interfere with the independence of the Central Bank, the judiciary, and the democratic functioning of government. Further, the organization called for Turkey to rejoin international agreements, such as the Istanbul Convention to combat violence against women.

The association also released a 230-page report on the same day, similarly calling for fundamental reform of economic policymaking as well as reform of the institutions and laws.

Although its report made no direct mention of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or his AKP, it obliquely criticized the government’s polarizing rhetoric.

TÜSİAD worked closely with the AKP government at the beginning of its tenure, encouraging the party’s pro-Western stance and the European Union accession process.

However, as Erdoğan and the AKP drifted further from the West and towards a more Islamic, conservative rule of law, TÜSİAD diverged from the ruling party. It began operating its own form of public diplomacy, opening international offices in Brussels and Washington, D.C. President Erdoğan has openly criticized the business association on numerous occasions.