State of Democracy and Human Rights in Turkey
British Columbia, Canada, (May 3-4, 2012) “State of Democracy and Human Rights in Turkey”, a paper presented in the “BCPSA 2012 Annual Conference: People and Power”, organized by Okanagan College and University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada
19 Pages Posted: 6 May 2012
Date Written: May 3, 2012
The Republic of Turkey has undergone a profound economic, social, and political transformation in the last decade. Its per capita income grew from less than $3,000 in 2000 to $10,000 in 2010. New publications, private radio and TV channels, business and professional organizations etc. have all burgeon in number in the last several years. Thousands of NGOs appeared in the 1980s and especially in the 1990s and now the number is almost 61,000. Everyone concurs with the economic progress of the country especially in the last several years. Nevertheless, the issue of joining European Union has been reached a wide consensus among the Turkish population for a long time. EU made the principles of democracy and human rights a fundamental part of the process of European integration and identified Turkey’s human rights regime as a principal reason for treating it differently from the other applicant countries. This country primarily criticized for its slow progress towards democratization, the limits to political participation and constitutional restrictions on civil society, notably on the creation of political parties and other associations. In responding to this, Turkey introduced some constitutional changes, abolished martial law, declared an amnesty for political prisoners, and held a referendum that strengthened democracy and lifted bans on former political leaders, and accepted the right of individual petition to the European Court of Human Rights. Still EU is saying that this country has a long away to go to be integrated. This article examines the state of democracy and human rights in Turkey. In addition, it will assess this situation in terms of the role of several actors and factors, i.e. State-institution, political party, mass media, civil society, election, accountability and transparency of other democratic institutions.
Keywords: Democracy, Human Rights, Turkey, EU, State, Constitution, NGOs, civil soicety, Political party, military
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