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Turkey’s Democratic Path 30 juillet 2013

Posted by Acturca in Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE.
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The International Herald Tribune (USA) July 30, 2013 Tuesday, p. 7

Egemen Bagis *, Ankara

Just days after your editorial  »Turkey undermines its bid to join the E.U. » (June 26), the E.U. decided to resume talks with Turkey by opening the Regional Policy Chapter to negotiations. We welcome this decision. Yet criticism by some European officials on issues related to human rights, democracy and rule of law are not very convincing at a time when those issues cannot be discussed under negotiations due to the lack of consensus among member states. The E.U.’s leverage in Turkey’s political reform process and its credibility in Turkey have been weakened as a result of increasing politicization of the negotiation process by some member states.

Unquestionably, Turkey has been undertaking the necessary steps for further democratization by expanding the rights and liberties of its citizens. During the A.K.P.’s rule over the last decade, millions of people have moved into middle class. Socioeconomic transformation has been going hand in hand with democratization. People with different issues started to claim their rights as a consequence of this enormous socioeconomic change. If there is one major reason behind the recent peaceful protests, it is because a vibrant civil society has flourished in Turkey, thanks to the opportunities we have provided to our people. Besides, be it for environmental issues or individual freedoms, protesting against a democratically elected government without resorting to violence I believe proves Turkish society’s European identity.

Turkish people from all walks of life have opted for the A.K.P. in the last three elections because people from different backgrounds had the chance to express themselves more openly. We, as the government, will continue to ensure the sustainability of a democratic environment as in other European democracies, where different voices can be heard in a peaceful manner.

* The writer is Turkish minister for E.U. affairs and chief negotiator.


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