Restoration gov’t asked to reverse AK Party’s anti-democratic legacy

Those who voted against the AK Party — almost 60 percent of voters — are now eying the restoration of democratic principles and the state of law, which have been heavily damaged by the ruling party in the last several years, in particular bringing those AK Party government members who are involved in the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption scandal to account, the same academics emphasized.
With the AK Party securing only 258 seats in the 550-seat Parliament, thus losing the majority to establish a government, and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) managing to enter Parliament for the first time by crossing the notorious 10 percent election threshold, opposition parties seem to be pushed to engage in coalition talks against a scenario in which the AK Party might form a coalition with one of these three opposition parties in Parliament.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which came in second after the AK Party by securing 25 percent of the vote, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with 16.5 percent, are at the center of an anti-AK Party coalition government.
Mehmet Altan, a professor at Istanbul University’s department of political economy, told Today’s Zaman on Monday this is the most appropriate time to restore damaged democratic principles and the state of law by forming a coalition government without the AK Party and bringing the graft suspects before a court. andquotAfter the restoration of Turkey’s damaged democracy, these political parties may then opt for renewed elections. All laws enacted after the graft scandal should be reversed through new amendments. The judiciary should be rearranged so as to be compatible with international norms. Also, the polarizing and marginalizing policies introduced by the AK Party should be reformed. Without materializing these targets, opposition parties should not seek for a renewed election,andquot Altan warned. Speaking with Today’s Zaman on the political priorities that opposition parties should target, esteemed international relations professor Sedat Laandciner in andcanakkale University underlined that Turkey is in need of normalization, which is only possible when the graft suspects are put on trial. andquotIf Turkey wants to normalize, then all wounds caused by the AK Party rule should be tended to. The AK Party control over the courts, the judicial body and police department should be broken down. Voters have said ‘no’ to Erdogan’s dreams of a presidential system. From now on, the president’s position should be redefined in line with the Constitution,andquot Laandciner stated. According to Baskin Oran, a professor of international relations and a columnist for the Radikal daily, if such a coalition government is formed in the following days, its priority should be stopping the massive corruption within the state and halting illegal arms transfer to fighting groups in Syria, referencing the National Intelligence Organization (MiT) trucks that were revealed to be carrying weapons contrary to the AK Party’s claims of sending humanitarian aid to Turkmens of Syria. andquotOf course, the judicial system that was destroyed by the government should be amended as soon as possible,andquot Oran added.
h2Erdogan ignored calls for removing limitations on freedomsh2 Despite repeated calls for Erdogan to abandon the path of authoritarianism and his desire to materialize a one-man rule after he was elected president last August, he turned a blind eye to all these requests and in fact accelerated his efforts to that end. This is why the election failure of the AK Party is considered as a blow delivered to Erdogan more than the AK Party and its embattled leader, Ahmet Davutoilu. Though it is uncertain if Erdogan will give the mandate to any of the three opposition party leaders to form a coalition among themselves if Davutoilu fails to form one within 45 days following the election, the time limit set by the Constitution for the formation of a government, a possible coalition government that excludes the AK Party will be seen as a promising option to reverse the AK Party’s anti-democratic legacy. After the graft scandal implicating key government members and even Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle went public in 2013, the then- Erdogan government vowed to sweep out those political and civil elements that he accused of plotting against his rule and trying to topple it via the corruption investigation. Targeting all critical elements of the country, consecutive omnibus laws were enacted to restructure the judiciary and the police department and control media outlets, causing a reversal of all democratic gains that the AK Party helped materialize during the first 10 years of its rule. Instead of bringing four former ministers, who are primary suspects in the graft probe, and others including pro-government businessmen and high-ranking state officials to account, Erdogan instructed that the charges in the corruption investigation be dropped and launched a andquotwitch huntandquot against those who had called out for justice to be done. The Gandulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, was particularly targeted by Erdogan and the government. Trying to tighten its grip over the judiciary, the government introduced many judicial legal regulations since early 2014, also tampering with the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in an effort to bury the corruption charges. Later, through an election within the top judicial body, a group of pro-government jurists started to take steps in line with Erdogan’s demands and dismissed many judges and prosecutors who participated in the graft investigation. Thousands of jurists were reshuffled, police operations were launched against certain members of the police force, journalists were imprisoned and anti-government business circles were intimidated through constant tax inspections, paving the way for a party state. Civil rights and freedoms were also damaged via a number of laws that granted extraordinary authority to the police force, such as detaining people and questioning them without a court order based on andquotreasonable suspicion,andquot rather than solid and concrete evidence.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman