REFORMS REQUIRING LEGAL ARRANGEMENT
The scope of political rights will be further extended by amending certain laws and the enactment of laws.
1. ELECTORAL SYSTEM
In this context, first of all three different alternatives will be discussed so as to bring about the change in the current electoral system which is desired by all political parties:
• Maintaining the current system, namely the 10% election threshold.
• Lowering the threshold to 5%, thereby, implementing the District System through groups of five.
• Removing the election threshold completely and introducing the Single Member District System.
2. STATE AID TO THE POLITICAL PARTIES
The scope of the state aid to the political parties will be expanded.
• The supplementary Article 1 of the Law on Political Parties will be amended so that requirement for parties to obtain 7% of the votes in order to qualify for state aid will be lowered to 3%.
• Thus, an implementation that is more democratic and that also protects political parties having less voters will be introduced.
3. ORGANISATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES
Organisation of political parties will be facilitated.
• With an amendment to Article 20 of the Law on Political Parties, it will no longer be required to establish party organisations in villages to have an organisation at the districts. Currently, it is required to establish party organisations in at least one half of the villages within district boundaries in order have an organisation at the district level. This provision will be amended to read as “It is not required to establish organisations in villages.”
Co-chair system in political parties will be introduced.
• With an addition to Article 15 of the Law on Political Parties, it will be possible for parties to implement the co-chair system. This system should be included in the Statute of the political party and should be restricted only to two co-chairmen.
Restrictions on membership to political parties will be lifted.
• With the amendment to Article 11 of the Law on Political Parties, certain restrictions that limit or restrict membership to political parties will be lifted. Within this framework, the provisions of the Law on Elections will allow everyone with the right to vote to also have the right to membership to any political party. To this end, restrictions for judges, prosecutors, members of higher judicial bodies, public servants, military officers, other public officials except those serving as workers indicated in paragraph (b) of Article 11 of the Law on Elections will be lifted.
Political campaigning and propaganda will be allowed in languages and dialects other than Turkish.
• The relevant article of the Law No. 298 will be amended, and thus, languages and dialects other than Turkish will be used in all kinds of political campaigning and propaganda by political parties and candidate in preliminary elections.
• The restrictive provision in Article 43 of the Law on Political Parties will be abolished, thereby allowing political parties to carry out campaigns and propaganda in languages and dialects other than Turkish during the preliminary elections as well.
4. HATE CRIMES
The penalties for certain crimes committed with the hate motive will be aggravated.
• The penalty for certain crimes committed, should these be motivated by reference to language, race, nationality , colour, sex, disability, political understanding, philosophical values, religion or sect, will be further aggravated.
The severity of penalties will be increased in order to fight against discrimination more effectively.
• Those who prevent others from enjoying and exercising certain rights connected with the observance of their religious duties will be subject to penalty. There will be penalties for this crime the penalties will be from one to three years of imprisonment.
• No one in Turkey will be subject to discrimination on the basis of language, race, nationality, colour, religion and for observance of religious duties.
The Anti-Discrimination and Equality Board will be established. In case of violation of constitutional principle of anti- discrimination, the relevant authorized public institutions will be obliged to take the necessary steps to end the violation, remedy the consequences thereof and prevent its reoccurrence.
6. RESPECT FOR LIFE-STYLE
Respect for life-style will be safeguarded with the Turkish Penal Code.
• With an amendment to the Turkish Penal Code, preventing the observance of religious duties will also be subject to penalty.
• Furthermore, preventing the performance of religious duties and ceremonies will also be subject to penalties.
• Any person who intervenes or tries to change the life-style preferences of another in relation with his faith, thoughts and opinions by using force or threats or through any other illegal action shall be sentenced to imprisonment from one to three years.
7. USE OF CERTAIN LETTERS
Penalties in the Turkish Penal Code regarding the use of certain letters will be abolished, thereby fully removing any prohibition regarding use of these letters.
8. RIGHT TO ASSEMBLY AND DEMONSTRATION
Significant amendments will be made in the Law No. 2911 on Demonstrations.
• Participation will be ensured when determining the rallying places and routes.
The civilian authority will give its final decision after taking the opinion of relevant non-governmental organisations.
• The amount of time for rallies and demonstrations will be extended.
In open-air places, rallies scheduled to end approximately one hour before sunset should disband prior to sunset; indoor rallies which scheduled until 23.00 may continue until 24.00.
• The practice of having a government commissioner at rallies and demonstrations will no longer be continued. Duties currently carried out by the Government Commissioner will be transferred to the Board(s) responsible for the organisation of the rallies.
In case the Board considers that the meeting goes beyond its target and that it is impossible to realize the meeting in order, the Board will decide to end the rally and notify the chief law enforcement officer.
When the marches and demonstrations violate the law, Board will declare the end of the march and the demonstration and notify the chief law enforcement officer thereof.
• If the Board fails to fulfil this task, highest administrative official of that district will take the decision himself.
Through legal amendments, education in different languages and dialects will be permitted in private schools.
• With the amendment in 2003, different languages and dialects were allowed to be taught in private courses. Later on, departments of different languages and dialects were opened in universities. Finally, the legislation adopted last year enabled teaching different languages and dialects in schools through elective courses.
• Through this package, education in different languages and dialects in private schools became possible. In our country, education and teaching in languages other than Turkish has been arranged in the Law No. 2923. With supplementary articles to this Law, it will be possible to provide education in different languages and dialects in private schools, as pursuant to the Law on Private Education Institutions.
• The Council of Ministers will determine the languages and dialects to be used in education at these schools. The Ministry of National Education will issue a by-law for regulating the principles and procedures regarding the opening and supervision of such schools.
• The education programs will be determined by the Ministry of National Education and certain courses in these schools will be in Turkish, as provided for in the current law.
10. NAMES OF RESIDENTIAL AREAS
The legal restriction regarding the names of villages will be lifted.
• The clause in Article 2 regarding the names of villages in the Law on Provincial Administrations (1949) will be removed, thereby allowing villages to use the historical names that they used until the 1980s.
As indicated in the current law, the names of the villages can be changed with the approval of the Ministry of the Interior.
• By virtue of the current law, the names of provinces and districts can be changed by law. The Government will consider the demands regarding the change of these names.
Within this scope, the name of the Nevşehir University will be changed to the Hacı Bektaş Veli University.
11. PROTECTION OF PERSONAL DATA
The protection of personal data will be ensured by the relevant legislation.
• With the constitutional amendment of 12 September 2010, constitutional guarantee was provided for personal data. The draft law prepared for this purpose will be transmitted to the TGNA.
The private information of the individual shall neither be used by nor be shared with unauthorized persons.
12. CHARITY COLLECTION
The restrictions on charity collection will be removed.
• Contrary to the Constitution and laws, the Turkish Aeronautical Association is authorised for the collection of hides (Kurban), Fitre ( a special form of Islamic charity) and Zekat (a special form of Islamic tax), which is not in accordance with human rights and freedoms.
• This practice will be ended by repealing the provision in Article 8 of the relevant law.
Our citizens may freely give their donations to persons, places and institutions as they wish.
REFORMS REQUIRING ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS
These arrangements will be made through the Council of Ministers’ decrees or circulars or amendments to the by-laws.
• The head scarf ban will be removed at the public institutions by amending the by-law on the dress code for public servants.
The current “By-law on Dress Code for Personnel of Public Institutions and Organisations” includes restrictive provisions for both women and men. These restrictions violate the right to employment and freedom of conscience and religion and include discrimination. Article 5 of the By-law will be amended, and thereby, the discrimination regarding the dress of women employees will be ended.
The members of the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish National Police, judges and prosecutors in judiciary who have to wear official uniforms will be excluded.
• The oath ceremony (Andımız) in the mornings at primary schools will no longer be held.
• The property of Mor Gabriel Syriac Orthodox Monastery (Deyrulumur Monastery) will be restituted to the foundation of the monastery.
• Roma Language and Culture Institute will be established.