Critics of Erdoğan remain doubtful of promises for reform – EuroNews

Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated talk about reforms to Turkey’s economy and judiciary, his detractors still have strong doubts, EuroNews said on Friday.

Few outside of Erdoğan’s inner circle are even aware of the contents of the upcoming reform package, journalist Michael Daventry wrote for EuroNews.

Erdoğan’s often combative language has “led man to conclude sweeping change is not likely,” Daventry said, citing two main issues for Turkey to be press freedom and prolonged pre-trial detentions.

In a speech for the new year, Erdoğan said, “We see the 6.7 percent growth rate in 2020’s third quarter to be a sign for our efforts, our country’s success during this (pandemic) process, and the strong potential for the new period.”

“Allah willing, we will present to our people the extensive reform programmes that we are just making final changes to,” Erdoğan said.

European politicians have long described Erdoğan as an autocrat, and concern over Turkey’s human rights violations and censorship continue to grow, the analyst said.

As the European Union and United States decide to impose sanctions on Turkey, hundreds of opponents of the government remain in prison, “many having spent years awaiting trial on terrorism charges,” he said.

It is much harder these days for Turkish journalists to hold their government into account, Daventry said, citing the case of Can Dündar, the former editor-in-chief for flagship critical newspaper Cumhuriyet who was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for revealing to the public Turkish intelligence services transporting weapons and ammunition to extremist groups in Syria.

Daventry spoke of Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala, a popular Kurdish politician and a prominent philanthropist who have been in pre-trial detention for several years without any convictions. Erdoğan has repeatedly stated that any reforms wouldn’t result in the release of the pair, who he often calls terrorists.

According to the analyst, a poll released recently showed that support for Erdoğan’s party was in a long-term decline over economic and political trouble in the country.