Constitution expert criticizes AKP’s ‘authoritarian stance’

Constitution expert criticizes AKP’s ‘authoritarian stance’

Cansu Çamlıbel ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Constitution expert criticizes AKP’s ‘authoritarian stance’

Prominent Constitutional Law Professor Ergun Özbudun (R) was among the law experts that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) cooperated in 2007 for the preparation of a new Constitution. HÜRRİYET photo

Prominent Constitutional Law Professor and one-time Justice and Development Party (AKP) ally Ergun Özbudun criticized the current stance of the Turkish government.

One of the law experts that the AKP cooperated with in 2007 for the preparation of a new Constitution, Özbudun said it was not him that changed, but the ruling party.

“I have always expressed what I thought was right, and am doing the same thing now,” Özbudun said. “If there is a change, it is not me, but the AKP.” “We did our duty in 2007. If there were efforts for a Constitution abiding by universal democratic criteria, I would take it as a duty for a country. But there is no such possibility now,” he said. “The preferences right now are against my beliefs: a presidential system, the manipulation of the electoral system, precautions limiting essential rights and freedoms.”

Özbudun claimed that Turkey is on a critical edge right now. “The changes before 2011 were positive
and we have to credit the AKP for that. But we are at a fork in the road now,” he said. “We will either solve the democracy deficiencies and create a system abiding by universal laws or we will go into a more authoritarian electoral democracy.”

The professor said the second option could make Turkey similar to some Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or the Caucasian Azerbaijan, saying that it is “not a bright” future, adding that currently Tunisia is in a better condition than Turkey in terms of democracy.

“Turkey’s place should be among the liberal democracies. We deserve this after 60 years of multi-party life,” he said.