Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis attended the second meeting held this year by the Abant Platform on "Democratization: Political Parties from the 12 September to the EU."
Bagis, in his speech there, stated that as a product of the 12 September military coup, 1982 Constitution weakened the individual and strengthened the state; however the EU represented an approach that strengthens the individual, protects the rights of the individual and regards the differences as richness. Bagis said "The approach adopted by the EU is more familiar to us than a Constitution prepared after the military coup of 12 September. Because our history bears an understanding that says "aggrandize a nation so that the state becomes aggrandized and love the created for the creator's sake."
Emphasizing that EU was the most important peace project of the human history which was established by nations who fought against each other through their history, Bagis continued:
"The 1982 Constitution has strengthened and sacred the state so much that the individual raised by that state becomes prototype. Today, as a consequence of our education, we all know that Ataturk had chased after the crows in his uncle's farm but the fact that the great leader envisaged the collapse of the Soviet Union and advised to make preparations for that is not thought us. Because such a thing would lead to people's thinking. We have to change this. It's time for us to attach importance to the individual, the nongovernmental organizations, the political parties and the platforms they would put forward.
I see the EU as Turkey's dietician. The dietician himself being fat doesn't mean that the prescriptions are wrong. Applying the prescriptions of the EU, 27 countries have become much more democratic, prosperous and are living in peace. None of the countries' economies have weakened. On the contrary their democracies, economies and income per capita have risen. We also should apply these prescriptions. We are realizing the EU standards for our own citizens to live in the standards they deserve, not to please the citizens of the EU member countries."
Stating that a great deal of reforms had been realized on the path for EU, Bagis argued that the critic on Turkey's acting slowly during the negotiations wasn't true.
Bagis said that Turkey went through 4 elections in 2007 and the leading party was able to amend Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, and laws like TRT Law and Foundations Law in spite of the trial to close it. Bagis continued his speech as follows:
"We tried to pave the way for democracy in Turkey and on the other hand we tried to defend our party. We entered 2009 by publishing the 400-padged national program. The state television started broadcasting in Kurdish 24 hours a day starting from 1st of January. This didn't weaken but strengthened the country. TRT has signed a cooperation agreement with Euro news. Euro news will establish a Kurdish channel soon. Poet prime ministers and social democrat governments came and gone, however it has been vouchsafed to our government again to restore the citizenship of Nazım Hikmet who uses the Turkish language in the best way. The Alewi issue was always exploited by the social democrats; however information regarding Alewism has entered school books for the first time. The Prime Minister has twice broken his fasting with the Alewi citizens during the fasting month of the Alewis. The Kyoto Protocol has been approved. Women-Men Equal Opportunities Commission was founded in TGNA. The May 1st has been declared as an official holiday for the first time. Lastly, the Citizenship Law has been approved; denaturalization won't be that easy anymore. From now on every law our Assembly approves has a EU dimension, for our EU Harmonization Commission examines each law whether it is appropriate to the EU standards or not. EU standards will also be valid in our customs. For this reason, we have to apply the prescriptions."
Stating that they still had so much to do, Bagis said that the most important thing in the last 7 years were the contributions to democracy. Indicating that law was the main requirement for democratization, Bagis said "it is time to leave behind the platforms in which people say 'How can my vote be regarded the same as the vote of the bucolic". Real democracy, democracy in which every individual is important can only be achieved by the clarity and simplicity of our law".
Stating that many people who object to the government and the system use the phrase "rule of law", Bagis said that they also stood up for the rule of law and continued his speech as follows:
"We also believe in the rule of law. However, when you say "the rule of law" and ignore other people's rule of law, then problems arise. 9 people invalidate the decision taken by 80 percent of the Assembly and you regard this as "the rule of law". There are two pages of information on how the cooperatives should function in the Constitution while no information on with how many people should the Assembly be gathered in order to elect the President. This is a tricky situation. It is time for Turkey to obtain a contemporary and modern Constitution that protects the rights of the people whose ideas we don't share. For this, we have to make cooperation in the assembly. We are left to think how this can be realized when we are encountered with such an opponent who don't even assign a member for the working group to be established with this aim." Resource: AA