Top business organization urges for reforms to secure judicial independence, media freedom

Top business organization urges for reforms to secure judicial independence, media freedom

Top business organization urges for reforms to secure judicial independence, media freedom

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Turkey’s top business organization has urged the country’s new cabinet to address and solve the problems plaguing judicial independence and media freedom immediately with a series of “required reforms,” adding normalization was “crucial.” 

“In order to be able to maintain social peace, we need to close our deficiencies in the rule of law, the independence of the courts and the right to fair trial immediately. This process needs to start now. There is a Judicial Reform Strategy in our hands that needs to be realized… In addition to this, the extension of liberties through the adaptation of several international agreements about basic rights and freedoms into our local law, and the definition of ‘freedom of expression and media freedom as a red line’ are of great importance, and in need of urgent reform,” said the head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), Cansen Başaran Symes, at the association’s High Advisory Board (YİK) Meeting on Dec. 3. 

She noted the Turkish society has been overwhelmed and tensed, adding the normalization of the country and politics was crucial, “as stated by the Prime Minister [Ahmet Davutoğlu]” within the new government program.

“We wish for the easing of tension and a return to our natural life rhythm, where peace rules rather than terror,” she added. 

She noted there were also some challenging issues in development and industry. 

“We need urgent reforms to maintain our low saving rates, to fight the informal economy, to raise the [level of] female participation into the workforce, to decrease the youth unemployment rates and last but not the least, to increase the quality of our education system,” she said. 

Başaran Symes said there were four uninterrupted years ahead to focus on both political and economic reforms. 

“This is a precious opportunity that should not be missed. If Turkey can focus on and realize the required reforms, it can differentiate itself for the better from the group of countries which have similar conditions Turkey has now, despite all the negativities in global conditions,” she said, underlining some of the crucial advantages Turkey had, such as young population, a robust domestic demand, strong public finances and a highly credible banking system. 

“These are great… Yet they are not enough and we should never forget that there are many challenges ahead for us. Are we really aware of how we have deteriorated the conditions that we once had to realize our opportunities?” she asked. 

TÜSİAD is seeking look positively to the future and regain the global competition that the business world has lost, she also noted, underlining the importance of the accession process to the European Union. 

Disastrous years ‘behind’

YİK President Tuncay Özilhan said Turkey has seen disastrous things for the last couple of years which have damaged both its democratic structure and economic system. 

“We have all become tired of harsh discussions as our society has been polarized. It is time to leave all of these negativities behind. We need to maintain our democratic rule while growing our economy and enhancing social peace and justice. If we can do this, we can recover all of our losses,” he said. 

Özilhan noted Turkey immediately needed a new constitution which would enhance both economic growth and democratic rule, and the realization of a number of crucial reforms. The second most crucial priority for Turkey was to achieve economic growth and a rise in the welfare level, he added. 

Deputy Prime Minister Lütfi Elvan vowed the new government will prioritize the reform agenda in a speech. 

“Our democratic, economic and social acquisitions will strengthen, new reforms will be made and large-scale mega-projects will be built in the new term… The preparation of the new constitution is also our priority as well. We want to see a constitution which does not remind the duties of the individual against the state, but the duties of the state against the individual,” he said.