Liberal Democrats see little hope for Turkey
ISTANBULTurkey’s Liberal Democrats Party has very little hope in the changes that would come with the new Constitution, unless the mentality of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) changes first, party chairman Cem Toker said today during a meeting with foreign correspondents.
“More important than what is written in a Constitution is the mentality of the judiciary and the judges who interpret the laws, of the Parliament that writes and drafts the laws based on the Constitution, and the government that executes the law,” Toker said.
“There are many articles in the current Constitution that are democratic and protect individual liberties and rights. I look at how they are implementing those articles. For example, if freedom of the press is guaranteed by the current Constitution, then why do we rank 154th among 179 nations in press freedom?” he said.
Toker also criticized the current state of democracy in Turkey, making particular reference to the 10 percent election threshold that he said forced representatives out of the race. He said the current system was “unacceptable and so unique that no other nation comes even close to it.”
“It violates the ‘no taxation without representation’ principle of democracy, the one man one vote principle,” Toker said.
The ruling AKP hopes to consolidate its power through the flaws in the system, while putting heavy pressure on individuals and media outlets to ensure its ideological supremacy, according to Toker, describing the current status of Turkey as “an autocracy.”
“In the last 10 years, Turkey has become an autocracy. Every single man elected or appointed is chosen by one man, this includes the local city governors, mayors, or any appointed governor,” he said.
He added that even judges and prosecutors were dominated by the ruling party, while also accusing the AKP of blocking any attempt to change the status quo or question its rule.
“If you control the media, you control the hearts and minds of people,” Toker said. “If I had access to the media he [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] has access to, I could also change the mindset of individuals. It is that simple.”