“Not a shadow of democracy remained in Turkey in 2017” - columnist

2017 was the year in which democracy was incontrovertibly over in Turkey, academic economist and former opposition member of parliament Yakup Kepenek wrote in the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper.

“Define democracy how you will, in 2017 in this country not a shadow of it remained,” said the former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy.

“And this is not only because of the decrees with the force of law issued in the context of the state of emergency, which every day give rise to new illegalities.”

The irregularities and lack of a fair playing field in the run-up to the April 2017 referendum on whether to give the presidency more powers, during the vote count, and after “opened an unfortunate door” and allowed the presidential system in, Kepenek said.

One of the most egregious instances of this, he said, was the constitutional changes giving the president the right to make a budget without any checks from parliament and to issue decrees with the force of law even not during a state of emergency.

“What keeps this darkness (merely) “twilight” is the half (of the people) shouting “No” against all repression with their votes in the April 16 referendum, which keeps up the hope that it will be morning,” Kepenek said.

The government won the referendum with 51 percent of the vote. The presidential system comes into effect after the next election to be held by November next year.