Democratization Package update: Don’t Expect More, but Less

TURKEY - In Brief 07 Oct 2013 by Atilla Yesilada

I’m asked by a lot of readers whether the recently unveiled Reform or Democratization Package heralds the return of the “pragmatic, reformist” AKP.  The answer is unfortunately NO.  In fact instead of adding to the gains by supplemental initiatives addressing the groups neglected in the first package, AKP is going back to its roots authoritarian and revanchist roots.  Three developments imply that whatever good-will the first Package has inspired will be reversed soon.   --Interior Minister Muammer Guler announced a new law and order proposal which will give the police the authority to detain “potential troublemakers” by 12-24 hours without a court order.  If approved by the parliament, this measure essentially grants police Martial Law powers.--PM Erdogan’s chief policy advisor Yalcin Akdogan told NTV that “because of the differences of opinion among this heterodox people”, an Alevite rights initiative will not be announced soon.  Alevites do differ on many things, such as Sunnis do. However, legalizing their temples and the end to mandatory religion courses in primary-secondary schools was a unanimous demand.  ---Pro-APK daily  --Star Gazete headlined an article claiming the victims of the 28 February 1997 military putsch demand justice from Ertugrul Ozkok, leading liberal/secularist columnist, CHP deputies, retired judicial officers, etc. I fear Koc and Dogan Holding may soon be added to the list of culprits.

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