By Jawad Maniani
By Jawad Maniani
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 8, 2013
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s last official visit to Morocco raises a great deal of questions as to whether Moroccan Justice and development party would copy Erdo?an’s experience. Since it came to power in 2002, the latter has transformed Turkey from a poor country, fighting poverty and illiteracy with limited means to a powerful actor at the economic, diplomatic and political levels.
The opposition parties and the party of El Istiqlal consider this visit as the PJD’s plan to copy the Turkish experience by making the pro-PJD businessmen, known by Amal association, the party’s economic voice. The visit, according to their statement, could benefit Morocco as Turkey is now considered as one of the world’s leading economic power in Europe. But Morocco missed the chance to take advantage of its experience due to “Benkiran’s narrow vision and his one-sided approach to such issues.”
Moroccan Businessmen Union (known by its French acronym CGEM) boycotted this visit, claiming that “it was not informed ahead of time, and that such events should be carried out through participatory approach by including all the economic actors”. Yet, many analysts view this attitude as the result of the tension between the JDP and the other economic and political actors.
The question that comes to mind is to what extent the Moroccan PJD could copy its Turkish counterpart? Do the opposition parties’ and Moroccan Business union’s attitude really reflect the changes Moroccans yearn for?
Certainly, the Moroccan PJD and its Turkish counterpart’s visions intersect on many issues: they both advocate for moderate Islam. Their foundations and principles are based on a pragmatic sense, translated recently by their smooth arrival to power. The two parties have also shown, in many international occasions, the same positions. To name but a few: their condemnation of Israel’s war on Gaza, their call for Bachar’s regime to step down and their support for the French intervention in Mali. However, many analysts rule out the possibility that the Moroccan party would copy its Turkish counterpart’s experience. Here are some reasons:
Economically, upon the arrival of Erdo?an’s party to power, Turkey witnessed an economic boom, based on a real competitiveness and a diversified economy turned towards exportation. It is now classified among the world’s leading producers of agricultural products; textiles; motor vehicles, ships and other transportation equipment; construction materials; and home appliances. While most European countries, with their long experience as industrial powers, have been unable to recover from the recent global financial recession, Turkish economy expanded by 9.5% in 2012 and 8.5% in 2011, thus making it as Europe’s fastest growing economy.
Politically, in 2002 the party won two thirds majority of seats, an outright majority making the JDP Turkish’s first party to achieve such domestic political triumph. Five years later in 2007, the JDP further expanded its share of parliamentary seats, as it won 327 out of 550 seats. Such political victory, made after long-standing conflicts with the army institution and secular parties, enables Erdogan’s party to implement its electoral program with a comfortable ruling majority. In Erdo?an’s 10 years rule, Turkey has witnessed rapid economic growth and an end to decades of high inflation rates.
On the other hand, the Moroccan PJD is still crawling toward real reforms as the government coalition is fragile, incoherent and poorly coordinated. Unlike its Turkish counterpart, the PJD didn’t obtain a comfortable ruling majority, thus the margin of implementing its electoral program is very limited and impeded by many factors. The PJD’s partners in the government are ruthlessly defending their interests and are willing to pull the rug from under Benkiran’s party once their long-fought interests are threatened.
Moroccan Interior Minister Laansar’s last statements that Morocco risks to be hit by the financial crisis unless the government focalizes its attention on concrete reforms and avoids cosmetic changes and Chabat’s decision to withdraw from the government show a real incoherence among the government’s components, thus affecting JDP-led government’s chances to achieve far-reaching economic changes, fight corruption, reform the judicial system and benefit from external economic support.
Most analysts view that the CGEM boycott of Erdo?an’s visit to Morocco as politically motivated. The CGEM excuse for not being informed ahead of time doesn’t take the blame off from its shoulder as the country is experiencing harsh economic times and as Morocco needs to strengthen his relationships with Turkey and rectify its trade balance, which is highly in favor of the latter. In addition, its attitude serves a political agenda defending the interests of the French lobby in Morocco, which begins losing its tight grip on many economic activities, paving the way to companies from other countries to further expand their investments in the Moroccan market.
The tension that is now heightening between the JDP and the other political and economic actors will benefit no one but the countries’ enemies who are willing to do whatever it takes to further sparkle these tensions and eventually depict our political experience ushered in since 2011 as torn apart by narrowed visions and unable to serve as political model for the region.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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