Privatisation sales catapult under Erdoğan gov’t, reaching $62 billion

Under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the country’s privatisation sales have reached over $62 billion, earning the president the title of the "biggest real estate agent in the world", opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Tekin Bingöl said.

Over the last 19 years,an Erdoğan-led privatisation policy has seen the “plunder, looting and pillaging of people’s factories, industrial complexes and property’’ of Turkey, Bingöl told Duvar news site on Monday.

The state-owned shares of nearly 400 private companies were sold from 1986 - when privatization was first implemented in Turkey - to 2019, with $39 billion of the $46 billion in sales taking place under AKP’s almost two-decade rule, according to data from the Ministry of Treasury and Finance’s Privatisation Administration (ÖİB).

During the same time, a total of $70 billion in state-owned enterprises have been sold in Turkey, and  $62.3 billion were placed on the market under the AKP, Bingöl said.

A total of 3,000 pieces of real estate belonging to companies privatised between 1986 and 2021 have been sold, according to ÖİB data.

The ruling AKP has overseen the sale of some $3.7 billion, including assets owned by the Turkish Sugar Refineries Corporation (Türkşeker), the Turkish Electricity Distribution Corporation (TEDAŞ) and Turkish petrochemicals company PETKİM.

“They have depleted the treasury itself, the country is bankrupt and now they are thinking to sell the treasuries’ valuable properties around the country to cover up their mess,’’ Bingöl said, accusing the AKP of selling the country “inch by inch".

Noting that privatisation continues despite the pandemic, Duvar said the AKP government has ordered the sale of another 10,851 public properties in 68 provinces across the country in 2020, valued at $290 million.