Turkish government will consider criticism against economic management a 'national security issue'

The recent statement of the National Security Council (MGK) has adopted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's 'Economic Liberation War' as an official state view amid growing discontent with the economic downturn in Turkey, Turkish columnist Zülfikar Doğan wrote in an article for Ahval on Friday. 

Turkey's National Security Council convened on Nov. 25 to discuss the country's economic "challenges and threats".

In a statement, the National Security Council announced that for the first time in years, "challenges and threats against the Turkish economy" have been put into the council's agenda. 

"Challenges and threats that Turkey has faced and may face in the process of implementing investment, production, employment, and export oriented economic policies in line with its objectives on the solid infrastructure it has built, have been evaluated," read the National Security Council statement.

The statement was released as the Turkish lira declined to record lows in value.

Still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey's economy continues its downward spiral. The lira saw a rapid decline against the dollar and euro in the past week. Citizens took to the streets in protest, and police arrested dozens in several major cities on Wednesday.

"That is why it is noteworthy that the economy was on the agenda for the first time in a statement released after the meeting of the council on Nov. 25 and that it was evaluated as a ‘national security’ issue," Doğan wrote.

So far, 74 Turkish citizens have been detained in protests against price hikes, increases in exchange rates and inflation. The General Directorate of Security (EGM) also announced that an investigation has been launched against 270 citizens who "criticised government's policies on the economy over social media with the aim of 'provoking the public.'"

Opposition groups are calling for the government to resign as protests continue.

Doğan maintained that the developments in the economy will now be evaluated as a "national security issue" by the government.

"Comments, criticisms, and warnings made by both the opposition and non-governmental organisations, trade unions, academics, economics writers and commentators may be treated within this framework," Doğan remarked.

"Therefore, Erdoğan's call for the ‘Economic Liberation War’ against the attacks of foreign powers has been transformed into an ‘official state view and national security’ criterion with the National Security Council statement," the columnist added.

The ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) was a vocal critic of the military intervening with Turkey's civilian governments in the past.

The structure of the National Security Council was changed after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.