Arınç, who shared his views on the approaching referendum, told Sunday’s Zaman, “If we could have tried the coup leaders who usurped the authority of the civilian administration and ignored the national will in 1960, new juntas would not have formed and we would have been ahead of the EU in almost any way you look at it.”
Arınç said constitutional protection caused juntas to spread from generation to generation like a virus. He said Greece, which had tried its past junta leaders, was now an EU member, whereas Turkey has failed accede despite having made its first application to join what is now the EU 50 years ago.
He said elections should determine a country’s politics, not tanks or rifles. Arınç said recent developments under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government such as the reforms carried out as part of EU accession efforts have brought Turkey closer to full democracy. “We are becoming a country that does not frequently interfere in Parliament and does not harbor nepotism, discrimination or double standards,” the deputy prime minister said.
According to Arınç, public polls are important elements in fostering democratic awareness, noting that even local governments in Europe held such votes to see what their residents wanted. “Polls are a foundation of democracy, the more polls we have, the stronger democracy will be.”
‘No one will dare to stage a coup’
Noting that people are free to express themselves and their identities in a democracy, Arınç said no one would be perceived as a threat because of the region they came from, the way they dress, their beliefs or their ethnicity. Explaining that those who respond to difference with hostility see coups as a solution, Arınç said that once the constitutional amendment package is approved, no one in Turkey would even be able to think about planning a coup any longer. Underlining that difference would be seen as productive and be respected, the deputy prime minister said: “We can envision living in complete unity only in a democracy. Coups should never happen again in Turkey. They won’t happen again. With the constitutional amendment, the military will go back to its constitutional duties.”
Arınç said a full democracy is needed to get rid of these pains. “If there is no democracy or law in a country, mysterious murders will happen in that country,” Arınç said. He said other atrocious crimes against citizens, such as torture, could easily be committed in an undemocratic state. Arınç said this was one of the main reasons why some individuals chose to take up arms and join terrorist groups. “We all complain about terrorism today. Terrorism is a result. At the root of it is an inability to express one’s own origins and ethnic identity coupled with economic underdevelopment, torture, injustice, and cruelty,” he said.
Package to bring affirmative action
Arınç said the addition of a special provision on women into the package will add dynamism to social life. He also criticized, as a violation of women’s rights, Turkey’s headscarf ban -- in effect on university campuses and in military facilities.
He also praised the package for amending the Constitution to allow appeals on the rulings of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) -- which oversees the promotions and assignments of judges and prosecutors -- and the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ), which decides on the promotions and dismissals of military officers.
He said he understood that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) must be meticulous about disciplinary issues, but people who had been dismissed should have the right to further judicial review to avoid arbitrariness. “Some of these people were expelled just because their wife wore a headscarf. The changes will end this cruelty,” Arınç said.