As the June 24 elections loom, “social policies” top the most important topics in political parties’ election manifestos.
Due to the Justice and Development (AK) Party increasingly boosting Turkey’s visibility in social policy practices, especially in recent years, and social expenses in the gross domestic product (GDP) significantly increasing, toward the election, all political parties are establishing the social state understanding in their main agendas.
Social aid, social services (such as home care), student scholarships and additional payments to retirees seem to stand out among the social policy implementations in Turkey.
These implementations actually concern all segments and particularly the disadvantaged fractions of society. In other words, the scope of social policies is increasingly widening.
Why are social policies important?
Social policy implementations coming to life in a country means the GDP being shared by each and every citizen, and the macroeconomic growth being felt at the micro level as well. In other words, it means comprehensive growth, every household – which is a brick of the economy – takes a share from the social welfare.
Poverty, which is among the primary problems the entire world is fighting today, is not a problem for underdeveloped countries alone. Developed and developing countries are also seeking ways to overcome the problem of poverty. The social policies implemented have a great role in fighting this problem. Hence, social policies are important for decreasing poverty in Turkey and, as a matter of fact, for eliminating absolute poverty which is at a very low rate.
Meanwhile, Turkey has made quite significant progress in social policy implementations in recent years. These implementations were shaped in accordance with the demands received from citizens and their satisfaction while being implemented.
Thus, the satisfaction of economic and social welfare of the people brings along political stability. In this scope, social policy practices have become extremely important in terms of the continuation of political stability.
Social policy implementations are important in terms of including every individual within the scope without discriminating, and realizing humanitarian development. Social policy practices realized in the society that are aimed at ensuring just income distribution and social welfare are important in terms of achieving the “social state” understanding.
Country rankings that are determined based on countries’ national income per capita differ based on the rise or drop in national income per capita. In this scope, social policies, which have a serious role in increasing national income per capita, are extremely important in terms of getting countries to change their current rank and rise to the next higher income group.
Social policies and budget
A look at the share of social expenses in GDP in Turkey shows that it is still behind EU countries. While the share of social aid in GDP in Turkey is 1.50, the EU and OECD average of social expenses in GDP is at a rate of about 2.30.
Hence, it is clear that increasing social expenses and putting new social policies into practice is a requirement.
Yet, there is also benefit in keeping social expenses within certain restrictions based on budget means. Opposition parties’ outrageous open bidding promises in relation to increasing social expenses do not bring back good memories.
Hence, as the social expenses to be made in a country are directly linked to that country’s GDP, there is benefit in stating that as national income increases, the more social expenses need to increase.