Democracy package not individual-specific

Although the opposition insists that the package is the result of the ongoing settlement process, the BDP is not elated with anticipation about its adoption

Democracy package not individual-specific

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, on Wednesday said that the long-awaited democratization package will be announced soon and that it was not prepared to save a specific individual or individuals.

Bozdağ was responding to criticism from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that the package was being adopted to appease the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities' Union (PKK/KCK) network, in televised remarks made to the NTV news network.

Hundreds of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members are currently in prison as a result of investigations of the KCK and the package is widely expected to provide amendments that will lead to the release of many of them. However, Bozdağ said the package does not include any KCK-specific articles.

“Democratization has always been an agenda item for our government. There will be many new things in this package. It is a historic package that will be supported by wide segments of society. There will be criticism and appreciation. There are no regulations to enable the release of specific individuals.”

Arınç also commented on the soon-to-be-revealed package and in response to MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's criticism, Arınç said, echoing Bozdağ, “The package has nothing to do with the PKK or İmralı [referring to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan] or the settlement process.”

Government officials have been conducting talks with the PKK's imprisoned leader Öcalan since October of 2012, seeking a settlement of the country's Kurdish question. The PKK started to withdraw its fighters from Turkey in accordance with the early agreements, but the withdrawal was recently called to a halt.

Arınç said Bahçeli's claims that the package will be a “success for the PKK” are unacceptable. “Whoever was the speaker of these words, it is a statement made irresponsibly. It is a comment made with a purpose beyond condemning the government; it is to incite people to hate the government.”

Although the opposition insists that the package is the result of the ongoing settlement process, the BDP is not elated with anticipation about its adoption. A deputy group leader of the BDP, Pervin Buldan, said on Thursday that the KCK trials have seen not only journalists and BDP members, but also lawyers, the very people who are supposed to defend the suspects, appearing as defendants in KCK-related trials.

“I don't believe that the package will contribute to democratizing Turkey. Because the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government prepares reform packages on its own, without consulting anyone. You can't bring democracy to Turkey without taking into consideration different peoples living in this country, women, young people and political organizations. We expect nothing from these packages,” said Buldan.

Buldan also criticized the Turkish media for the lack of interest shown in the KCK trial where a number of journalists are on trial. “I think journalists who are not sensitive about this trial should really be questioning themselves.”

BDP İstanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel also commented on the package, accusing the AK Party government of passing packages to create false hopes of democratization among the public.

The package is also expected to contain articles doing away with some restrictions regarding the dress code for civil servants, making it possible to get public services in one's mother tongue rather than just in Turkish, and for cemevis (Alevi houses of worship) to serve under a foundation status. A bill paving the way for those PKK terrorists who haven't been involved in any crime to return home after laying down arms is also expected to be included in the democracy package the prime minister will announce.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Eylül 2013, 20:53

Muhammed Öylek