Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati made the headlines this week with a pledge to “take down” his country’s bureaucracy as he courted foreign investors in France. Though Turkey is no stranger to red tape, excessive bureaucracy is hardly the culprit impeding foreign investments that Turkey’s ailing economy badly needs today.

Addressing a meeting with international investors in Cannes on March 16, Nebati said the presidential investment office would extend all support to foreign investors and be their “one stop” in resolving snags. He continued, “What I dislike the most are those laws and regulations or the bureaucracy, which hamper investors. Let’s fight them together. We can take the bureaucracy down — the president is behind us, rest assured. We can change laws and regulations as well. We act expeditiously under the presidential system.”

The minister was referring to the executive presidency system, to which Turkey transitioned in 2018, concentrating power in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hands. Erdogan had pledged the new system would expedite decision-making and make the government more efficient, but four years on, his governance is widely criticized as a one-man rule that has eroded checks and balances, tightened control over the judiciary and debilitated parliament and other institutions. Erdogan is often under fire for flouting the law and making arbitrary decisions, including economic policies that contravene conventional economic theory.

The opposition saw Nebati’s remarks as dangling an unlikely carrot in front of foreign investors, that is, a promise that Ankara would not hesitate to flout laws and regulations to attract much-needed foreign capital.


Written by Mustafa Sönmez