TÜSİAD urges gov’t to make judicial reforms

TÜSİAD urges gov’t to make judicial reforms

TÜSİAD urges gov’t to make judicial reforms

TÜSİAD President Haluk Dinçer speaks during a press conference. AA Photo

Turkey’s leading business club has drawn attention to the urgent need to write a brand-new civilian Constitution and make significant reforms in the judicial system. The group has also regretted the absence of fair representation in Parliament, which it says is vital for preserving stability in the country.

“Although some amendments have been made, Turkey is still being governed with an old Constitution,” President Haluk Dinçer of the Turkish Industrial and Business Association (TÜSİAD) said Sept. 4.

“In Turkey, a new civilian Constitution is needed,” Dinçer added, speaking at a press conference in Ankara after wrapping up a courtesy visit to governmental officials, opposition leaders and diplomatic missions.

According to Dinçer, significant steps should be taken to make judicial reforms. “Turkey has an enormous judiciary problem in front of itself. We can overcome this with a radical judicial reform. This must be one of Turkey’s first priorities.”

A parliamentary panel tasked with drafting the country’s first civilian Constitution was officially dissolved in December 2013, after nearly two years of futile work.

The current 1982 Constitution is effectively a legacy of the Sept. 12, 1980, coup. It replaced the Constitution of 1961, which was also drafted following a military coup.

‘Erdoğan’s hand should not remain extended’

“Turkey definitely needs democratization, definitely. In this context, Turkey needs to accelerate its EU harmonization process. Turkey has a gigantic Kurdish problem and [needs to resolve] the resolution process. We said ‘We can only solve this through overcoming polarization and through creating a healthy political environment in the country.’ In this sense, Mr. President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan extended his hand by saying ‘Let’s forget the past, let’s look to the future,’ in the first speech that he delivered after being elected. We believe that this hand should not remain extended. And we thank our president for this first step. Very important tasks are falling on the shoulders of all political parties, civil society organizations, the media and all of us in Turkey,” Dinçer also said.

Speaking at an extraordinary congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Aug. 27, where he formally handed over the party leadership to then-Foreign Minister and new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Erdoğan who has been widely blamed for charting polarizing policies, recalled the ethnic and sectarian diversity of the founding Parliament of 1920, and associated the AKP’s cause with the spirit of this Parliament.

Erdoğan said he has been “extending his hand again” to all people of the country for “shaking hands, and urged the abandonment of all disagreements and polarizations in the past.

According to Dinçer, “the Gezi Park events and the Dec. 17 process,” led Turkey to "lose 15 months." He was referring to the Gezi Park unrest of anti-governmental protests in summer 2013 and the eruption of a huge graft probe that engulfed Cabinet ministers and their families on Dec. 17, 2013.

“It also led to serious loss of reputation abroad for Turkey. This is also a fact. Whether external or internal forces, whatever the reason is, Turkey has lost a lot of prestige. There has been a serious erosion in citizens’ confidence in the order of law,” Dinçer said.

The leading businessperson, who was elected to his post at TÜSİAD in June, also touched on the drawbacks of the infamous 10 percent election threshold for a party to be represented in Parliament.

“In an environment with gigantic issues ahead, like Turkey, fairness of representation in Parliament is extremely important. In our opinion, there is not sufficiently fair representation in Parliament in Turkey,” he said.

Turkish business group warns of lagging behind in transatlantic trade talks

All projections indicate that Turkey’s economy would eventually be harmed due to the eventual integration of the world’s two largest economies through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), TÜSİAD President Dinçer has warned.

“The U.S. and the EU have been negotiating the TTIP. This agreement is integrating the world’s two largest economies. However, all calculations foresee that Turkey’s economy will be harmed due to this integration. Turkey must definitely become a part of the ongoing TTIP negotiations as soon as possible,” Turkish Industrialists and Business Association (TÜSİAD) President Haluk Dinçer said on Sept. 4, speaking in Ankara after courtesy visits to government officials, opposition leaders and diplomatic missions.

“As a non-EU member country, Turkey’s inclusion in a Customs Union Agreement with the European Union, which came into force in late 1995, has brought many advantages,” Dinçer said, while adding that today an “asymmetrical” situation against Turkey had emerged.

“Until today this has been endured but from now on it seems very difficult,” he added.

Ankara is pressing to be included in the TTIP being negotiated between Washington and Brussels, which would cut tariffs and harmonize regulations in the world’s biggest economic blocs.

Under Turkey’s current customs agreement with the European Union, the TTIP would also give the United States automatic access to Turkish markets, but Turkey’s exports would not see the same reciprocal benefit.