Friday, February 6, 2015

Erdoğan wants more power, so he asks for 400 deputies for his former AKP at Turkish elections -- Fethullah Gulen: Turkey’s Eroding Democracy

    Friday, February 06, 2015   No comments

Erdoğan wants 400 deputies for his former AKP at Turkish elections
Disregarding opposition criticism of his direct involvement in politics, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again appealed for votes for his former Justice and Development Party (AKP) without explicitly giving the party’s name, declaring that “400 lawmakers” are needed for a “new Turkey.” 

“If we want a new Turkey at the June 7 elections, we will give it 400 lawmakers,” Erdoğan said, speaking at a public rally in the northwestern province of Bursa on Feb. 6.

He linked several key issues to this newly set goal, including his desired shift to the presidential system.

“What we say is that if we want a new constitution, we have to reach 400 lawmakers,” he said.
At least 330 deputies in parliament are needed to change the constitution.

“If we want the presidential system, then we have to give 400 lawmakers. If we want the resolution process to continue, we have to give 400 lawmakers so that a strong party can come to power to realize it,” Erdoğan added, referring to the ongoing talks to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.

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Fethullah Gulen: Turkey’s Eroding Democracy
By FETHULLAH GULEN

SAYLORSBURG, Pa. — It is deeply disappointing to see what has become of Turkey in the last few years. Not long ago, it was the envy of Muslim-majority countries: a viable candidate for the European Union on its path to becoming a functioning democracy that upholds universal human rights, gender equality, the rule of law and the rights of Kurdish and non-Muslim citizens. This historic opportunity now appears to have been squandered as Turkey’s ruling party, known as the A.K.P., reverses that progress and clamps down on civil society, media, the judiciary and free enterprise.

Turkey’s current leaders seem to claim an absolute mandate by virtue of winning elections. But victory doesn’t grant them permission to ignore the Constitution or suppress dissent, especially when election victories are built on crony capitalism and media subservience. The A.K.P.’s leaders now depict every democratic criticism of them as an attack on the state. By viewing every critical voice as an enemy — or worse, a traitor — they are leading the country toward totalitarianism.

The latest victims of the clampdown are the staff, executives and editors of independent media organizations who were detained and are now facing charges made possible by recent changes to the laws and the court system. The director of one of the most popular TV channels, arrested in December, is still behind bars. Public officials investigating corruption charges have also been purged and jailed for simply doing their jobs. An independent judiciary, a functioning civil society and media are checks and balances against government transgressions. Such harassment sends the message that whoever stands in the way of the ruling party’s agenda will be targeted by slander, sanctions and even trumped-up charges.

Turkey’s rulers have not only alienated the West, they are also now losing credibility in the Middle East. Turkey’s ability to assert positive influence in the region depends not only on its economy but also on the health of its own democracy.

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Ed Isr

About Ed Isr

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