January 14, 2015

ALDE President Watson outlines alarming trend of Turkish gov’t policies

Graham Watson, the president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party in Europe voices outrage at the violations of separation of powers, journalist detainments in a worrisome trend in Turkish government policies.

“For two years the press, the political opposition, the judiciary and the business community have shivered as the rule of law, the separation of powers and fundamental rights have been questioned,” reads Watson’s article at the European Voice.

Expressing that Turkey has failed at it social reforms, Watson observes “Growing intolerance of political opposition, public protest and a free press is now a matter of grave concern to those who see a future for Turkey as a liberal democracy in Europe.”

Speaking of the new national security law allowing individuals to be detained on ‘reasonable doubt’ over highly controversial crimes against the state and terrorism, the ALDE President expressed “A recent law extending the grounds for arrest has been used to detain media editors critical of government [including the editor of Zaman, Turkey's largest daily, and that of broadcast group Samanyolu TV]. Turkish and foreign journalists are finding that tweets can lead to detention.”

At the target of Watson’s criticism was also the shuffling and exiling of members of the judiciary and the police force since the 2013 December 17-25 corruption probes which implicated the government. According to the ALDE President the Turkish government has “moved to subordinate the judiciary to the executive branch -- through dismissals and reassignment of thousands of state prosecutors.”

At the epicenter of the pretext for these measures is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vendetta towards Islamic Preacher Fethullah Gülen. Erdoğan has blamed the scholar for orchestrating the corruption probe and operating a clandestine parallel state. Critics have viewed such blame games by Erdoğan as an attempt to cover up corruption allegations.

“The Turkish government appears paranoid about the influence of a moderate Muslim cleric [Fethullah Gülen] who condemns radicalism [and lives in the United States]," notes Watson.

His statement concludes, “The EU is committed to upholding and promoting democratic values. If closer relations [between it and Turkey] are on offer it will say as much about the development of the EU as that of Turkey.”

Published on BGNNews, 13 January 2015, Tuesday