MP: Turkish democracy is example for Middle East
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 14 / Trend U.Sadikhova /
The development of freedom of expression and an improvement in the protection of human rights in Turkey after constitutional amendments were passed in a referendum on Sunday are a clear example to follow in building democracy in the Middle East, a Turkish MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Abdurrahman Kurt, has said.
"Protection of human rights and support to the democratic process is an indicator of democracy for the Middle East today," Kurt told Trend over the telephone from Ankara.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the result of a general referendum on constitutional amendments were a celebration of the victory of democracy.
According to local media, 58.02 percent of voters approved proposed constitutional amendments put forward by the AKP.
The voter turnout was put at 77.55 percent, with the largest turnout seen in areas densely populated by Kurds.
The referendum includes 26 amendments to the Turkish Constitution, which was ratified in 1982 following a military coup in 1980. They relate to reforming the justice system, particularly the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, provide for the possibility of instituting criminal proceedings against the military in civilian courts, and confer authority for filing a case for the dissolution of political parties from the Court of Appeals to parliament.
The constitutional reform also institutes the office of Ombudsman.
According to Kurt, who heads the Lebanon-Turkey parliamentary friendship group, the latest developments in Turkey have aroused great interest in Arab countries.
"Turkey's even-handed position in the Arab-Israeli conflict and support of democracy in the country has attracted the attention of its Arab neighbors, who are closely watching the process," Kurt said. "All this will lead to a positive outcome in the future."
In addition, Turkey could encourage the development of democracy in neighboring Middle Eastern countries, but not impose it, Kurt believes.
"We can serve as an example of how to develop democracy and improve the protection of human rights, but Turkey can not force these countries to follow it, Kurt said. "It depends on the will and desire of the country itself."
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