Democracy package not the end of reform process, says Turkish PM

Democracy package not the end of reform process, says Turkish PM

Democracy package not the end of reform process, says Turkish PM

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) stands among Justice and Development Party (AKP) members during a meeting at the party headquarters in Ankara on September 20, 2013 AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN

The set of reforms contained in the upcoming “democratization package” is just one part of the ruling party’s 11-year long performance and is only a new stage in the ongoing service provided by the government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, dismissing media reports on the package, including speculation as to a reduction in the election threshold.

“It is a very important stage, a very important phase. It is a process that will proceed by always refreshing itself for the togetherness and fraternity of the 76 million [people of Turkey], and in a way that will be in favor of our country and our nation,” Erdoğan said on Sept. 20.

The prime minister put particular emphasis on the “unifying” aspect of the package, in apparent reference to critics who claim that the reforms will amount to a “submission to separatist demands.”

The package is likely to be announced next week in a press conference given by Erdoğan.

He also warned against speculation over the content of the package, saying that some had been claiming the existence of “unrealistic elements” within the package. “We see that some people are counting chickens before they have hatched. They are talking about impossible things. Making comments about an unveiled package is baseless and unfounded,” Erdoğan said.

Some media reports have suggested that the package will introduce a much-anticipated reduction in the 10 percent election threshold, to either five or seven percent.

Erdoğan also criticized the opposition parties’ statements regarding the content of the package and predicted that they would inevitably reject it. “The opposition stands like a wall in front of any sort of reform ... They will produce new scenarios of fear,” he said, adding that his party should explain the content of the package to the people clearly when it is published.