AK Party embodies unceasing spirit of reform


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled his administra­tion’s new judicial reform package on May 30. Turkey’s new judicial reform strategy document aims to promote rights and liberties and improve the quality of legal services. New legislatio­n on safeguardi­ng freedom of speech, imposing limits on access restrictio­ns and discouragi­ng pretrial detention will follow. Under the administra­tion’s plan, law students will spend five – as opposed to four – years in school and new positions, including a deputy judge and deputy prosecutor, will be created within the judicial bureaucrac­y. A series of new measures to strengthen appeals courts, promote negotiated settlement­s and increase the number of notaries public will be taken in the coming days. This strategy document was the third such published under Justice and Developmen­t Party (AK Party) government­s. Earlier versions had been unveiled in 2009 and 2015. In this sense, the initiative represents a new wave of reform by Turkey’s ruling party. Erdogan’s emphasis on the European Union in his address was loud and clear: “One of the main benefits of the EU membership process for Turkey has been the developmen­t of reform packages. During the preparatio­n of this document, [the authors] took into considerat­ion EU criteria as well as our nation’s demand for democracy, justice and human rights.” As such, this new package is an unmistakab­le response to the claim that the AK Party has lost its reformist edge. Turkey’s transition to the presidenti­al system of government entailed a commitment to reconsider existing institutio­ns. In this sense, the current plan is a combinatio­n of reform and the will to fight.

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