Turkey's efforts to draft a new constitution have recently dominated the headlines in European media with numerous articles being published on the topic. What is unfortunate, however, is that most of these articles are misinforming and misleading the people of the EU.
As the militants or proponents of the outlawed PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) carry on manipulating opinions about Turkey by making comments in various media outlets, particularly those based in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, defaming the country before the EU public has become the sole concern of this campaign.
Since the 1980s, Turkey has been governed by a constitution that would be rejected by every democrat in Europe. The 1982 constitution, drafted by the fascist military junta following the 1980 coup, was enacted through an anti-democratic vote watched over by the military which saw the use of transparent envelopes at the ballot boxes.
This constitution, for over 36 years, has been the greatest impediment to Turkey's democratization. It was something that the junta imposed for maintaining its anti-democratic order. And now, finally, Turkey has endeavored to amend this anti-democratic constitution, something that has been long overdue.
Regrettably, people who read news articles written about Turkey's new constitution in the EU media can easily be deceived, since they do not elaborate on the contents of the new constitution. Whereas, in truth, after days of discussions and the first round of ballots the Turkish Parliament has adopted 18 articles of the new constitution. The second round is scheduled to begin tomorrow and if adopted, the amendments will then be submitted to the president.Finally, provided that the president approves, a referendum is to be held in April. Which means the Turkish electorate will have the final word on the constitutional amendments.
Efforts to introduce a modern and democratic constitution are part of a reform that aims to render Turkey more stable and well-governed. Thanks to the new constitution, the unnecessary bureaucratic bodies will be minimized in order to make the decision making mechanisms function more effectively.
The most popular lie penned as part of the smear campaigns against Turkey suggests that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would enjoy dictatorial authorities after the enactment of the new constitution. However, thanks to the 1982 constitution, the president does already have extensive authorities and cannot be called to account. But, under the new constitution, presidential powers will be more effectively monitored by the Parliament.
Abolishing the prime minister's office will also be a pragmatic step, since it will remove some redundancies in governmental agencies.
Today, the president heads the Cabinet and Cabinet meetings are organized at the Presidential Office. So, the new constitution will regulate this aspect, in order to render the state apparatuses to operate more efficiently.
But, these facts are unfortunately not articulated by the EU media and likewise the fact that the age of candidacy to become deputies will be decreased from 25 to 18, which is a more democratic implementation, is also not expressed. It must also be considered that most of the social democrat parties in the EU countries argue for decreasing the age limit. Some countries are even considering decreasing the age to 16.
Meanwhile, the amendment would see the number seats in Parliament go up from 550 to 600 since it aims to form better representation of the nation, something that cannot be associated with any anti-democratic practice.
Why would someone desiring to have dictatorial authorities decrease the age of candidacy, when young people comprise the most dangerous demographic group for dictators? For this particular reason, the age limit for candidacy was made 25 in the 1982 constitution. Youth has the most effective and radical ways of dissidence and now, more democratic rights are to be granted to the young demography in Turkey, as it has never been throughout the Republic's history.
I would also like to ask my European friends that what kind of dictator would want to see more Parliament members and what kind of a tyranny is open to criticism in Parliament.
I request all our European friends who want to make an objective assessment on the issue, to read the 18 articles that have been passed so far to make the new constitution more modern and democratic. I am sure that they will find the articles in full alignment with some of the current EU constitutions that are exemplary in terms of EU values and democracy.
Supporting the new constitution would be the most reasonable reaction, if they really wish for Turkey to become more modernized and democratized.
However, I can clearly see why some anti-Turkey circles and those having some conflict of interests are against the amendments. They are afraid of the consolidation of the country's power as the modern and democratic constitution would inevitably contribute to stability. This is the main problem. They do not wish to see Turkey become a more stable and powerful nation in the international arena.
Gradually becoming more democratized and modernized since 2002, Turkey's minor steps in this regard had disturbed similar groups and now the nation's giant leap towards democratization has unsurprisingly caused panic and distress.
But, all efforts to hamper Turkey's evolution are in vain, as the people of Turkey are well aware of what is right and what is wrong for the greater interests of their nation.