The Turkish people approved a referendum with a 51.41 percent vote on Sunday for the constitutional changes that will usher Turkey into a presidential system.
The Turkish people displayed their devotion to democracy on July 15, 2016 by braving tanks and jet fighters to stop a bloody coup. On April 16, the same people flocked to the polling stations with a massive turnout of 85 percent, which once again underlined the strong loyalty the Turks feel to democratic values. The referendum was fair and held under the supervision of the Supreme Court with all political parties present during the vote counting.
Despite this, we have regrettably observed European Union officials, its Parliament and its institutions acting like Turkey's adversaries and challenging the will of the Turkish people. This is an open insult to our nation.
Dutch Member of Parliament and European Parliament Rapporteur for Turkey, Kati Piri, has been very vocal, in a most antagonistic manner, about her reactions to the referendum results, calling the results "a sad day for all of the democrats in Turkey."
We are the democrats who put up a brave fight in 1987 to end the bans against former political leaders imposed by the 1980 coup at the cost of suffering Turgut Özal's wrath. We are the democrats who struggled for Kurdish rights in Turkey in the ‘90s and lost all our wealth in the process. We are also the democrats who fought against the military's involvement in politics and had to pay a high price in 1997 as we rallied for Necmettin Erbakan. We know well when to fear for our democracy, and we can confidently inform Kati Piri that this is not one of those days.
Piri claims the election campaign was held in an unjust environment. She claims the vote was razor thin, that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be given immense, unsupervised powers and claims the new system is authoritarian. All of her claims are absolute rubbish.
She should read the amendments to the Constitution again to better understand what it will bring to our democracy. She has to see that the president will be well supervised by Parliament, which was not the case in the old system. In the old system, we had a president with massive powers and no accountability, and now that is changing. What is undemocratic about that?
Piri, and other European officials like her, cannot expect us to allow them to write our Constitution and our laws. They cannot dictate what we need nor can they judge our democracy, especially after the terrible performance of the European countries concerning democratic rights and freedoms recently.
Piri says if the constitutional changes are applied without any amendment, it will lead to the shelving of Turkey's full membership talks with the EU. Is this a joke? She has no regard for our nation's choice to approve these changes and then expects us to turn to the Turkish people and say, "Well we asked you to pass these changes, but we will now change the rules because the EU simply does not like them." The EU has not physically shelved our negotiations process, yet it is no secret that in application this process does not exist. So Piri and the EU gang are completely barking up the wrong tree. Soon they will hear from Ankara and understand the terrible mistakes they have made and continue to make.