As this year draws to a close, people are beginning to think about their wishes for the upcoming year. Sunday’s Zaman talked to a variety of people from all walks of life to find out what they would like to see different next year. Some say a more democratic and new constitution is their biggest wish, while others wish for peace. Others say they would be happy with health and financial stability.
If in the coming year the opposition gets stronger, it would certainly help Turkey, according to Savcı Sayan, a politician. “I wish we have a strong government and opposition in 2012 because without a strong opposition, a government cannot provide more quality services. In order to prevent unrest and violence, a strong opposition is needed.” The adoption of a new constitution, desired by all segments of society, is another wish Sayan has.
“I hope we have a new constitution which everyone can refer to as ‘my constitution’ in 2012. I wish we have a year without corruption and alienation. I hope we will promote and protect our common beliefs and values. We should attach more importance to universal values than our political views and ethnic identities.”
Another new year wish for Turkey came from Hatice Kılıç, a public servant. “I hope changes to the structural organization of public agencies made in 2011 improve the workings of public agencies and increase productivity. I also hope the balance between the central government and local governments improves,” she said. “I hope the central and local organizations will not fail to respond to each other’s needs while struggling with their own problems,” Kılıç said, adding, “May the new year bring peace and health to humankind.”
Peace and stability are what Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Şanlıurfa deputy Kasım Gülpınar wishes to see most in the new year. “As all the countries in the world are in some way connected to each other, any adverse development in any of them can affect a vast region. In this context, I hope the countries struggling with financial crises overcome these difficulties and that the world does not face another economic stagnation. For 2012, I wish for a world where people try to understand each other, and where all problems are solved through dialogue.”
Another expectation for 2012 that many Turks have, Mehmet Kasap, a lawyer, being one of them, is to see a better judicial system. “I wish Turkey improves its judicial system in 2012 so that we do not have to look at EU countries’ judicial systems as an example. I would like to see that not only Turkey’s economy but also its judicial system is presented as a model to foreign countries. I hope Turkey will serve as a source of inspiration for the developing countries with its judicial system.” He said he hoped to see a faster moving and more meticulous judicial system in 2012. “Lastly, I hope we will finally have a new constitution in 2012,” he said.
Ali Şahin, a journalist, hopes 2012 will be the year to end the constant tension caused by the country’s overly politicized and polarized media. “As a journalist who has written optimistic news reports from war zones, I hope Turkish media will become more objective and socially and morally responsible in 2012,” he said.
A better functioning democracy is what many would like to see in 2012. Teoman Erdem, an academic who says this can’t be achieved without a new constitution, said: “Politicians should pull themselves up according to democratic and moral values. I would like to see them use the power vested in them by the people for the public good. This is why I want a new constitution in 2012.”
He also complained of inadequate oversight of university hospitals. “University hospitals should be privatized. Since the Ministry of Health acts as both the boss and the inspector, it implements the rules according to its own interests. Should the ministry decide to act only as the inspector, it would create a healthy competitive atmosphere that could increase the quality of health services,” he said.
One commonly expressed wish is the hope that Turkey will finally manage to tackle its significant rates of domestic violence. Tuba Sümer, a university student, said, “The government should introduce laws that are more deterring in order to eliminate domestic violence, violence against women, honor killings and child abuse.” She added, “In 2012, I would also like to see more academic freedom at universities and university administrators who allocate more funds to education to be elected as rectors.” Begüm Erden, a worker, said: “For 2012, I wish for increased awareness about mobbing at the workplace and concrete action, such as legislation to empower employees against mobbing and providing education and training for both employers and employees to recognize mobbing, to be taken in order to prevent such practices from happening in the private sector.”
Taha Koçer, an employer, said he wishes Turkey’s economic improvements are reflected in other fields and lead to a fairer distribution of wealth and better employment figures. “Although many people complain of not finding jobs, we are also failing to find staff members with the necessary qualifications. The relevant public agencies could start vocational courses in different fields. That way unskilled workers could get to acquire professional skills and find jobs more easily, and employers will be able to find qualified personnel,” he said, adding, “I wish for a happy new year filled with peace, good health, love, happiness and lots of fun.”
Emine Hakverdi, who works at a grocery store, also wants to see financial stability next year. “I hope the county’s economy can recover in 2012 so that we can look towards the future with confidence and hope. People are concerned about the financial crisis and delay their shopping; this in turn creates stagnation and unemployment in the country. I hope people earn and spend more in 2012,” she said.
Pensioner Nurettin Çakmak agreed, saying: “I wish for a healthy, happy and peaceful year for the entire world in 2012. I hope our country will overcome the economic crisis and the government will increase the salaries for pensioners.” He also said he would like employment figures to improve. “I hope new jobs will be created for people like my son, who graduated from a university last year. I hope he will find a good job in 2012.”
Şule Tanrıverdi, a housewife, wishes for a new car next year. “I wish the new year brings peace, justice, freedom and a moral conscience to the whole world. It is difficult to say whether 2012 looks promising for Turkey in terms of the fair distribution of wealth. In order to overcome the crisis, everybody must make sacrifices -- not only civil servants and workers, but also our deputies. While increasing their pensions they should not ignore the people’s needs. I really wish to buy a house and a car in 2012, but that is not a very realistic wish.” Ankara Sunday’s Zaman