The President of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) Muharrem Yilmaz reiterated calls for constitutional reform that would establish universal principles of rule of law, judicial independence and impartiality.
Delivering opening remarks at the 44th TUSIAD General Assembly in Istanbul, Yilmaz expressed concern with recent developments in Turkey and problems associated with the rule of law, separation of powers and transparent politics. He warned that the country cannot increase its economic competitiveness if it does not respect the supremacy of law, has a judicial system not in line with EU norms, where the independence of regulatory institutions has been tarnished and companies are pressured with tax fines.
In his remarks, Yilmaz outlined ten national priorities highlighting the expectations of the Turkish business world:
- Returning to the path of high growth by controlling the likely negative economic consequences of current political fluctuations and the 2014 election cycle.
- Resolving the controversy over judicial independence under the framework of the Copenhagen political criteria.
- Taking transparent, determined and concrete steps in the “Resolution Process” that seeks to permanently end terrorism and violence in Turkey.
- Opening negotiations on at least 3 – 4 chapters in the acquis with the European Union, beginning with chapters 23 and 24 – those related to the “judiciary and justice system.”
- Revising the electoral system by adhering to contemporary standards before the 2015 general elections and decreasing the 10 percent electoral threshold.
- Meeting the Central Bank’s inflation target of 5 percent.
- Focusing on increasing competitiveness based on technology and innovation and preparing supportive legislation.
- Adopting long-term education policies based on contemporary norms that expand the skills required for the 21st century.
- Expanding rights and liberties such as the freedom of speech and assembly – beginning with internet regulations.
- Adopting a foreign policy that is reputable, sustainable and mindful of welfare.
Yilmaz said that these principles mostly seek to improve Turkey’s democratic standards and that the Turkish business world is calling for a better pluralistic and inclusive democracy.