GYV: Hard-won democratic gains sacrificed for short-term interests (2)

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Concerned over Turkey’s faltering democracy amid simmering fears over the country’s lurch toward authoritarianism, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) said democratic gains, achieved after painstaking efforts over the course of the past decade, are being sacrificed for short-term political interests at the expense of democracy.

Organization chairman Mustafa YeIil painted a bleak picture of Turkey’s future, warning of irreversible consequences if the current political developments take firm hold.

“The regression in democratic values, human rights and freedoms in the country in recent years has become worrying for many and has triggered harsh criticisms both inside and outside the country,” said the GYV in a statement read out at a press conference on Wednesday.

The regression in democratic values, human rights and freedoms in the country in recent years has become worrying for many and has triggered harsh criticisms both inside and outside the country. The democratic and pluralistic atmosphere that our society has struggled for so many years with a heavy price is being sacrificed for short-term political gains. Many respected international organizations, particularly including the European Union, a staunch supporter of Turkey’s democratization process for the last 10 years and a benchmark for the ruling party as well, frequently and emphatically find the current direction of the country unfortunate.

Ominous developments are sadly being observed with regards to freedom of the press, a sine qua non ingredient of democracies. The 2014 reports of international organizations that measure countries’ performance regarding freedom of the press list Turkey as a country that is “not free.”

Demanding extradition of Fethullah Gulen from the US

Speaking to an American TV network, Prime Minister ErdoIan said: “I hope the US, as our strategic partner, will extradite Fethullah Gulen. It should at least deport him.” It is scandalous for ErdoIan to ask the US to extradite Mr. Gulen despite the fact that there isn’t any single ongoing judicial investigation about him. This also signifies that any future investigation that might be launched against Mr. Gulen will be completely politically motivated. Moreover, Mr. Gulen was tried and acquitted in connection with various claims and slanders of a similar nature in the past. There is no evidence acceptable in terms of legal principles and norms and international practices that can justify Mr. Gulen’s extradition. Given that, with this move mediated via the media, ErdoIan is clearly seeking to create the perception that the Hizmet movement is under the control and guidance of the US.

However, the Hizmet movement attaches great importance to universal human rights, the rule of law and peaceful coexistence and has been conducting its education-centric activities in over 160 countries, including the US. The efforts to portray these activities as being controlled and guided by a foreign state, culture or secret service constitute a grave slanderous insult against the supporters of the Hizmet movement who come from diverse religions, languages, ethnicities and cultures around the world, particularly including the altruistic people of Turkey.


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