Democracy faltering, industrialists warn


 The head of the Turkish Industry & Business Association, Ümit Boyner made several criticisms. AA photo

The head of the Turkish Industry & Business Association, Ümit Boyner made several criticisms. AA photo Lengthy detention periods and the prosecution of journalists and students has become “a rusty stain” on Turkey’s image, the head of a leading business group has warned while urging reforms in anti-terror laws and the penal code.
“In conjunction with the drafting of a new constitution, we expect legal amendments that will stop developments that have begun to stick like a rusty stain on Turkey’s image,” Ümit Boyner, the head of the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TÜS?AD), said Dec. 9 at a meeting of the group’s higher consultation council.
Boyner also denounced the lengthy pre-trial detentions, the widespread use of secret witnesses in courts, the frequent leaking of wiretaps exposing private lives and mounting violence against women as serious shortcomings that “do not suit a Turkey with a claim to being a model country.”
She said Turkey’s prospective new constitution must strengthen the parliamentary system, guarantee the independence of the judiciary, ensure the effective functioning of the principle of the separation of powers and protect all minorities.
“We must fully embrace the fact that democracy is not just the governance of the majority,” she said.

Çiçek urges speedy input for charter 

Speaking at the same gathering, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek said the preparatory work for a new constitution was advancing at a sluggish pace and called for contributions from all parts of society. 

People should “stop watching the process like a football game” and submit their input to Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission as soon as possible to complete the new charter in 2012, Çiçek said.

The failure of previous constitutions to provide Turkey with a sound legal foundation has cost the country political and administrative instability, he said. “This has lead to waste of energy and time and the squandering of important opportunities like European Union membership.”

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