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‘Democratic Turkiye Will Turn to EU After the Elections’

The EU must be prepared for the major shift toward a democratic government in Turkiye, a clear objective of which will be to strengthen its ties with EU institutions and member states, as well as to revitalise the EU membership negotiations, writes Kader Sevinç.

Kader Sevinç is the head of CHP Representation to the EU in Brussels.

As the head of CHP Representation to the EU and founding and board member of the Party of European Socialists, I have been a staunch believer in the European project and Turkiye’s future accession to the EU.

Today, millions of Turkish citizens have this belief and passion in their hearts.

Both our broad-based coalition’s common policy platform, the Nation Alliance, and our joint presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements send a clear message to the Western world, particularly the EU:

“We are ready to rapidly transform Turkiye into a true democracy that our citizens deserve, as well as to carry out the democratic reforms required by the EU accession process”.

The EU must also be prepared for this major shift, for the vision of a democratic government in Turkiye about which it has written lengthy reports for years.

With an astounding 70% of Turkish citizens in favour of EU membership, I am filled with optimism and determination to see our quest for a more democratic Turkiye and a robust, unified Europe through to its conclusion.

I am confident that the union of a Turkiye fully aligned with the EU acquis and a reformed EU will be mutually beneficial for both parties. To realise this shared vision, Turkiye’s new democratic government and the EU must work together.

Our people in Turkiye desire a government that cherishes openness, human rights, and the rule of law, that will restore the system of checks and balances, that will ensure press and expression freedom, and that will achieve a breakthrough in EU reforms.

My party, the CHP – Republican People’s Party, and our broad-based coalition, the Nation Alliance, are ready to answer to their call at this point. Our roadmap is complete, as are our program and mindset.

However, the lengthy shadow of Erdogan’s authority has clouded Turkiye’s skies and resulted in a severe backlash of democracy and human rights.

Censorship has silenced the media, and journalists who dare to disagree have found themselves jailed and imprisoned. The once-independent judiciary has devolved into a government instrument used to suppress opposition.

The Nation Alliance, led by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, pledges to implement EU standards, prevent corruption and misuse of public resources and provide direct income support and social aid packages in the 2023 elections, which are critical for the future of both Turkiye and our shared continent Europe.

Kılıçdaroğlu, an experienced politician and economist who battled for democracy and human rights, is noted for his ability to promote unity and conciliation.

The CHP has battled as a powerful opposition party against the Erdoğan government’s crackdown on the opposition and the degradation of democratic institutions under his leadership.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s vision for Turkiye is to heal the country’s wounds through inclusive and progressive policies that solve the country’s economic and social concerns. This is seen in his policies and discourses towards students, pensioners, small and medium-sized businesses, farmers, and a variety of other social groups.

Unfortunately, Turkiye has long struggled with democratisation issues, and the present spiral of authoritarianism, corruption, and injustice may be unprecedented in history.

Erdoğan’s violent crackdown on political protests, human rights breaches, and prosecution of civilians for criticising the president have all had a detrimental impact on citizens’ emotional state, creating a fearful atmosphere.

The CHP and the Nation Alliance recognise the necessity of addressing this issue and implementing remedies as soon as possible. To develop a strong social safety net, our policies strive to restore freedoms to the greatest levels, enable a science-based 21st-century education system, and improve healthcare.

In this way, we aim at eliminating the harmful impact of political persecution on citizens while rapidly raising our people’s standard of living and happiness. We want Turkiye to be seen within the EU and around the world as a happy country, not a country of human rights violations, imprisoned journalists, or politicians.

We have built a ruling coalition capable of accomplishing this, and we are approaching this election as an alliance capable of changing the Western world’s outlook on Turkiye.

One of these game-changers is Turkiye’s visa liberalisation process. As is well known, the Erdoğan government launched and then halted the visa liberalisation process with the EU.

Despite our best efforts as the opposition, only 67 of the 72-item reform package were implemented, with the current government blocking 5 of them. We are in favour of visa liberalisation for our citizens.

We will meet the requirements of these five reforms and expect the EU to grant visa liberalisation to Turkiye as an accession country to the EU as it does to many other countries around the world.

During his campaign, our candidate Kılıçdaroğlu stated that he would implement reforms such as anti-corruption, data protection, harmonisation of anti-terrorism legislation with the EU, an agreement with Europol, and effective cooperation with the EU in criminal matters within the first three months of our new government.

We are determined to restore democracy and the rule of law, as well as to establish a strong European democracy and socioeconomic system. We will rebuild confidence in our institutions by putting these measures into action.

We shall take initiatives ranging from the democratic resolution of the Kurdish question in parliament to the establishment of social peace in our society by addressing the increasing polarisation.

While doing so, we will destroy Erdoğan’s presidential system and replace it with a strengthened parliamentary system that has been thoroughly planned and whose guidelines have been clearly stated by our coalition.

Our political objective is to strengthen our ties with both EU institutions and EU member states, as well as to revitalise the EU membership negotiations. In addition to democratic changes, we place a high value on the enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights rulings.

Turkiye is a member of the Western Alliance, and we value the organisations to which we belong as well as the shared principles that unite us. We will create a better society for all at home through continuous reforms, and we will be a country that reassures our global allies.

Finally, re-establishing our country as a credible NATO member will boost our security as well as the security of our continent, Europe, especially at a time of geopolitical and economic turbulences, and enable us to play a greater part in promoting peace and stability in the region.

As one of NATO’s most powerful military forces, our country closely follows the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation Defence Agreement (PESCO), and we believe that with our strong military capabilities, we can make greater contributions in this area in the future.

We recognise the necessity of cooperation with our allies who share common principles and goals, especially given the current uncertainty in the Middle East and Europe. We believe that strengthening the Western alliance is critical, and Turkey intends to play a more effective and fully integrated role in the EU.

The elections in Turkiye on Sunday are a critical opportunity for our citizens to elect a democratic government in all respects.

We will create a democratic and prosperous Turkiye, a potential EU member and respected member of the global community. We have committed ourselves to this idea and will work tirelessly to make it a reality.

Source : Euractiv

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