“Turkey needs a new constitution to save its democracy”

By Fethullah Gulen – Opinion @ FT.com

“A small group in the executive is holding the country to ransom” says Fethullah Gulen.

Trust and stability are fundamental to a nation’s development and to how the world perceives it. There is inherent trust in a democratic and accountable government that respects the rule of law. Turkey painstakingly built this trust over the past decade.

Until recently it was seen as an example of a country that prospered while maintaining a democratic government run by observant Muslim leaders.

No longer. A small group within the government’s executive branch is holding to ransom the entire country’s progress. The support of a broad segment of the Turkish public is now being squandered, along with the opportunity to join the EU.

Several recent actions of the Turkish government have drawn strong criticism from the EU and other western countries – among them, a law that gives the justice minister powers to appoint and discipline judges and prosecutors; a bill to curb internet freedoms; and a draft law that would give Turkey’s intelligence agency powers akin to those claimed by dictatorial regimes.

After decades of coups and political dysfunction, the ruling AK party’s attempt to end military interference in domestic politics was necessary. Democratic reforms towards that end were praised by the EU and supported by a majority of Turks, as evidenced in the 2010 constitutional referendum.

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