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Turkey to announce new human rights action plan

Turkey to announce new human rights action plan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he will announce the new human rights action plan on March 2, as he said they are also determined to start consultations for a new, more democratic constitution in Turkey.

Speaking at a news conference following a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Erdoğan called on everyone to participate in the constitution-making process and express their ideas.

The plan is expected to focus on the topics of freedom, the right to security, the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech as well as the rights of women and the disabled. The enhancement of these rights and liberties has seen setbacks in the bureaucracy that have prevented these rights and liberties from being implemented properly.

The ministry is also expected to determine a policy on the rights of children and youth for the first time in the country’s legal history.

The plan has been prepared in accordance with the observations and reports of the international mechanisms that monitor human rights, while cooperation with several human rights groups is also expected to be on the way.

Turkey’s current Constitution was drafted following the Sept. 12, 1980, coup d’etat, and it still features elements of putschist influences despite a number of amendments having been made to subdue it.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) wants Turkey to have a civilian-drafted constitution by 2023, coinciding with the centenary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey.

Opposition parties, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), have opposed calls for a new constitution, claiming that it equates to the “failure of the presidential system.” The CHP and the Good Party (IP) are among a few arguing that Turkey should return to a parliamentary system.

Despite initially opposing renewing the Constitution, the parties did not refrain from intensifying political contacts with one another. On Thursday, CHP Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu visited conservative Felicity Party’s (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu.

Erdoğan also warned against increasing racism and Islamophobia in western countries.

“Even though Western leaders do not want to accept the truth, hate crimes increased two-fold in Europe last year,” Erdoğan said, adding that cultural racism has become institutionalized, especially in France.