The ministers said that Turkey’s EU accession process had played a powerful role in supporting Turkey’s reforms in areas such as civilian control of the military and the independence of the judiciary.
CHP Deputy Chairperson Faruk Loğoğlu has called on the European Union “to acknowledge the realities of Turkey with objectivity,” in response to a joint article written by 16 EU foreign ministers.
Please see below the full text of Mr Loğoğlu’s letter to the EU Ministers:
Your piece “The EU and Turkey: Stronger together” is a timely and important reminder that Turkey and the EU are intertwined by a plethora of enduring interests and values. While your observations in this context on the nature and the potential of the relationship between Turkey and the EU are to the point, your perception of the state of affairs in Turkey is sadly out of focus in several important ways.
That Turkey “offers its neighbors an inspirational example of a secular and democratic country…” is a misnomer. Secularism is under persistent and systematic challenge by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in all walks of life. Education, science, politics, the economy, the armed forces and civil society are all domains where AKP pursues an authoritarian policy of incremental Islamization. Today, democracy exists in Turkey largely in the abstract. The executive controls both the legislative and the judicial branches of government. Freedoms of expression and of the press are severely restricted. All opposition is silenced. Those who raise their voices are put in jail: more than a hundred journalists and several hundred students are deprived of their freedom on alleged terrorism connections. Eight elected members of the parliament are in custody for more than three years. The list of human rights violations, especially of women, is a very long one indeed. With all these faults and deficits, calling Turkey an “inspirational example”, is a disservice to Turkish democracy and secularism.
You site your support for Turkey’s reforms in the area of the independence of the judiciary. This is a most disturbing observation that is very much out of touch with the reality of the Turkish judicial system. It is also a blow to all those forces in this country that demand a truly independent judiciary liberated from the tutelage of politicians. The rule of law, a founding pillar of Western civilization, is no longer a part of Turkish society. People do not trust the courts. Rather, they seek justice at the European Court of Human Rights in ever growing numbers. Hence, applauding judicial reforms in Turkey means actually supporting the anti-democratic leanings and practices of the AKP government.
It is high time for the EU to acknowledge the realities of Turkey with objectivity and take a clear stand accordingly. Otherwise, the erosion of Turkish democracy and secularism will continue unabated with disastrous results for Turkey and for the EU.
CHP Deputy Chairperson in charge of Foreign Relations”