Turkish gov't to fulfill remaining election pledges by March 21
by Merve Aydoğan
ANKARAMar 01, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Mar 01, 2016 12:00 am
Deputy Prime Minister Lütfi Elvan said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has fulfilled 82 percent of its election pledges and 50 percent of its promised reforms since it was formed on Nov. 24 last year. Sources reported Monday that the government's agenda for March includes fulfilling 10 reforms and eight election pledges, including the Political Ethics Law as well as providing legal status to traditional wisdom centers and cemevis – Alevi houses of worship. All the reforms and pledges that were promised to be fulfilled in the first three months of the new government are to be finalized by March 21 at the latest, according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Regarding the status of cemevis, Elvan also said that the Coordination and Surveillance of Reforms Group along with eight ministers held a meeting to discuss the recent developments and that the Justice Ministry is expected to finalize work on the matter in the upcoming days. For years, public recognition of Alevi identity, institutions and the legal status of cemevis, have been common requests made by a variety of groups in the Alevi community. Even though cemevis are the houses of religious worship and rituals for the Alevi minority community of Turkey, so far they have no legal status equivalent to that of mosques or churches. Thus, as part of the government's 2016 action plan, reforms of basic rights and freedoms includes providing legal status to cemevis and all necessary needs.
Another reform expected to be fulfilled in March addresses the problems of Roma citizens. During previous AK Party government, Davutoğlu appointed Roma Turkish citizen Metin Özçeri as an adviser with aims to reach out to Roma communities in Turkey. Moreover, in recent days Turkey's first Roma TV station started broadcasting with the aim of preventing prejudice against the community.
Related reforms to be addressed concern education, employment and housing for the Roma community as relevant institutions of the government will conduct further moves to eliminate all grounds for racism. The government is planning to establish a general directorate under the Family and Social Policies Ministry to deal with Roma citizens' problems. The Roma population will have an office to directly apply about their problems. A special institution under the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities will be established to provide better services for the Roma population.
The government's agenda also includes enacting the Political Ethics Law that aims to inject transparency, accountability, objectivity and honesty into Turkish politics by taking international models as an example. In addition, once the budget talks end the Protection of Personal Data Bill and the establishment of the Law Enforcement Monitoring Commission will be addressed.