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Erdoğan must ask Lula the secret of his success
Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, popular President of Brazil, is visits Turkey today. He is the leader with biggest public support after Obama. As opinion surveys carried out in Brazil reveal, around 80 percent of the public supports him. But, his performance is in fact better than that of the President of United States of America. Obama has recently taken over the office. Lula on the other hand took over the administration in January 2003 following the elections carried out at the end of 2002. Then in 2006, he succeeded to be elected as the president for the second time. Do these dates sound familiar? It is important that 80 percent of the public still supports him at the end of the first half of his second term in power. In this context, it might not be logical to compare Lula with Obama. President Lula can be considered as the most popular politician of the world. Therefore, during a couple of these days, we will watch the most popular politician of the world on our television screens. The question to be asked here is: Where does the secret of Lula's success lie? Honorable Prime Minister of Turkey, who can be compared with Lula in terms of the duration and period of their administration, must ask himself the secret of Lula's success. And this commentary is about that secret.
At the G-20 meeting in London in April 2009, President Obama said that Lula's charisma mainly stemmed from his handsomeness. Do you remember? You might decide whether he is handsome, but it does not seem possible to say that Lula's charisma does not stem from his sweetness. This is the first point.
So, what does he have beyond charisma? He has an extremely successful performance. A Latin American country Brazil has demonstrated a highly successful economic performance during Lula administration. Economic program initiated before Lula's term at the office was continued to be implemented. 2002 elections bringing a central leftist party to power was come through without any big turmoil in the financial markets. I guess this should be the second point.
Third point is about knowing what to do next. For a while, a public expenditure program directed to make Brazil a petro-state is being carried out. The program is carried on persistently. A dream and strategy for becoming rich, as Lula put into practice with the slogan "God is a Brazilian" has been kept alive before and during the crisis. While we cannot decide exactly what to do for which sector, Brazil pursues a deliberate policy in the direction of turning the advantage of having natural resource reserves into a strong. Since the assumed oil fields are at the bottom of the sea, oil prospecting platform construction at shipyards are encouraged. Constructions of ships that will supply to these platforms are also encouraged. While we deal with "give our dreams back" requests, Lula manages to keep a strong dream alive. We believe under this lies Lula being a chronic optimist. This is the third point.
What is more, all of these happen in a country where number of unemployed has risen by almost 800 thousand since last November. Of course, it is necessary to keep in mind the ranks. Brazil's surface area is around 8.5 million square kilometers and population is around 200 million. Therefore, 800 thousand people definitely represent a smaller rate as compared to Turkey, though still important. However, despite the rise in unemployment, 80 percent of Brazilians still support Lula. Why is that so? In our consideration, it is so because he manages to keep the dream of a prosperous future vivacious. Strong social aid programs definitely have a contribution; but the result does not change: People living in Brazil do not feel abandoned, hopeless and tired.
Lately, Obama was talking about how easy it was to manage the world in the past. Is not he right? In the past, Churchill and Roosevelt would come together and make decisions privately. Things are now different. We needed G-8 to make decisions about the world, now we need G-20. President Lula says "life is not the same anymore." "In the past, prosperous nations used to talk arrogantly in international meetings, they thought they know everything. But now, in the face of the crisis, they recognize that they do not know what they are talking about." This is exactly how the current situation can be defined. Today, a world leader is to visit Turkey. The advice of Brazil, sick man of the past, is now listened. This factor should also be included in the charisma issue.
Put it in a nutshell, we believe that the secret of Lula's success is important. Turkey has lessons to learn from Brazil's experience. We need to gain our dreams back. When that is enabled, issue of administrative capacity can be handled automatically.
So, that is to say, it is highly important for a leader to spread positive energy.
To whom this might concern.
This commentary was published in Referans daily on 21.05.2009