PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS HEADSCARF VS DEMOCRACY

Prof. Dr. Ata ATUN

 
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 30 Nisan 2007 Saat : 5:12


 

 

If this is what you think of the presidential elections in Turkey, you are singing the wrong tune.
This very election will help Turkey’s democracy to deepen, to be more stable, rest on a solid basis and widen the borders of the rule of law in Turkey.
If democratic rules are breached in Turkey, the consequences will, like a domino effect, deprecate the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

This presidential election is now a major test of democracy in Turkey; everybody should respect the democratic process.

 

The election of the Turkish president should be made according to democratic rules and Turkey’s Constitution. The world has a strong belief in Turkish democracy and its democratic institutions.

 

As per the existing constitution the Turkish Parliament — that is, the Turkish Grand National Assembly — is the only and sole organization to decide who is to be Turkey’s next president.

 

In the Constitution Turkey is tailored as a democratic state, meaning that civil organizations and civil politics fulfill their responsibilities in a free environment, free of all kinds of interference.

 

Any kind of interference will be a setback for Turkey’s Western civilization aspirations, set as one of the main objectives of Turkish Republic by the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

 

The election process is a critical moment in Turkey’s role in the world.

A possible intervention will not help Turkey’s critical role in one of the most complicated regions of the world.

 

If there is such an attempt in Turkey, this will be perceived as an attempt against democracy and an extremely clumsy contribution to an extremely important democratic process.

 

Stability and democracy in Turkey is pivotal for the free world. Secular democracy holds a very high value for the European Union and was at the core of Turkey’s Europeanization project.

 

The decisions taken by the Council of Europe on the summit meeting on Dec. 17, 2004, paving the way for accession talks, clearly state that negotiations with the EU could be suspended if democratic rules are breached.

 

Painful experiences have proven how non-democratic approaches harmed Turkey in the past.

 

The rich historic background of Turkey will help to resolve these political issues in their own way, in a way that’s consistent with the Turkish secular democracy and the constitutional provisions.

 

Every political dispute or problem in Turkey could now be handled and resolved within the legal framework and democracy, contrary to the methods of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

 

This very presidential election will probably lead to a start of a “new era” in terms of Turkey’s democracy, a democracy on good terms with headscarf, rule of law and foreign policy.

 

Abdullah Gül’s nomination as president will probably prove to be a development heralding a transition in Turkey from a democracy of fears to a republic of freedoms and, if elected, this new president may pursue a more “dynamic foreign policy,” due to his Western and Eastern background and duly inject a new dynamism into Turkey’s relations with the EU, US and Middle East.

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