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Turkey democratisation package

Istanbul - Turkey

Istanbul – Turkey

Ankara – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan has unveiled a number of reforms on issues regarding political rights, such as election threshold, party organisation and propaganda in non-Turkish languages.

Announcing the democratisation package on Monday, Erdoğan elaborated on the new reforms and amendments regarding education.

He stated that they thoroughly reviewed the different practices of education in different languages and dialects in many countries with different methods.

As for the democratisation of the education system, Erdoğan added that they introduced a new system providing the opportunity to learn different languages and dialects by taking elective courses upon request.

“Now we are enabling providing education in different languages and dialects at private schools,” said Erdoğan.

He mentioned the following legal amendments on enhancing political rights:

Election threshold

Erdoğan said the government would propose three options to be discussed in the coming weeks for the election threshold:

  • Maintaining the current threshold of 10%
  • Lowering the threshold to 5%, while implementing single-member district constituency system in groups of five
  • Removing the threshold altogether and fully implementing the single-member district system

Erdoğan said the current threshold on parties for receiving state aid would be lowered to 3% from the current 7%.

Party organisation

Erdoğan announced an amendment that would facilitate local party organisation, removing the prerequisite for political parties to be organised in towns, so as to be granted the right to organisation at the district level.

Erdoğan said government would make party membership easier by lifting present restrictions to allow everyone who has the right to vote to become members at political parties.

The Prime Minister said the package would bring the freedom of using languages and dialects other than Turkish for political propaganda, prohibited under the current law.

This freedom could also be used in primary elections, Erdoğan added.

Ban on the headscarf to be lifted

In the scope of the democratisation package, the ban on the headscarf, which constitutes an impediment for women in being employed and taking an efficient part in work life, will be abolished.

“The by-law on the attire of personnel working in public institutions and organisations included restrictive provisions for both male and female officers,” Erdoğan said.

“These limitations violated the freedom of thought and faith, right to employment, and included discrimination.”

He said necessary amendments would be made in the relevant by-law and that gender-biased discrimination against women in work life would be stopped.

Those who have to wear formal suits, including members of Turkish Armed Forces, Security General Directorate as well as judges and prosecutors, are excluded. – Agency

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