Red lines

andquotFreedom of the press is our red line,andquot Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu said in a statement after the election.
If this promise is kept, Turkey may find peace again. Otherwise, the continuation of threats against the critical press and the restrictions on freedom of expression wonand’t allow stability to return even if a single-party government is in office.
In the 100 days to come, we will see if Prime Minister Davutoilu is telling the truth and determined to keep his promise. This is because the ruling party stressed that they will keep their election promises in the first 100 days after coming to power. If the crackdown on the critical media continues unabated, there will be no pluralistic democracy.
Turkeyand’s economic growth would be impossible in such a chaotic environment. The red line does not concern only freedom of the press. Peopleand’s mistrust of the press causes them to pay attention to the main issue. Many voters do not care about the silencing of media outlets. Part of this indifference may be attributed to the antidemocratic and elitist attitudes the Turkish media outlets exhibited in the past. But it shouldnand’t be forgotten that freedom of the press includes freedom of expression.
If no objection or critical remark is permitted by the government, this undermines the chances of people leading more peaceful and prosperous lives. There will be no means for reporting the pressures and restrictions on their lives, property and identity. In such a climate, the government wonand’t give a damn about peopleand’s demands. The red line is democracy. When all means and institutions of democracy are undermined or purged, peopleand’s hopes about the stability a single-party government may bring will end up in smoke.
How Prime Minister Davutoilu will react to the push for the presidential system — which is sure to put Turkey on a more authoritarian plane — arouses curiosity. Will he be able to stand behind his assertion that the presidential system is not his priority? No one knows. But it would be too naive to think that Turkey will benefit greatly from an authoritarian Turkish-type presidential system. Distancing itself from the Westand’s democracy camp, Turkey will certainly end up in league of authoritarian states in the new period. The EUand’s progress report on Turkey, long delayed because of the election, emphatically voices these concerns. The reportand’s observations regarding freedom of the press and freedom of expression indicate that the concerns are monumental:
andquotAfter several years of progress on freedom of expression, serious backsliding was seen over the past two years, with some level of preparation in this field. While it had been possible to discuss some sensitive and controversial issues in a free environment, ongoing and new criminal cases against journalists, writers or social media users are of considerable concern. Changes to the internet law, which are a significant setback from European standards, increased the governmentand’s powers to block content without a court order on an unduly wide range of grounds.andquot
In recent years, many events have taken place to indicate Turkeyand’s moving away from the European Union. If the intention is to establish a system far away from the West, this is not a good horizon. If some politicians think they can govern and control people more easily in a backward country isolated from the world, then they are wrong. Such a system offers no future for government or the public. Democracy is a red line for everyone.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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