Turkey’s main opposition party CHP (Republican People’s Party) finalized its Justice Congress yesterday (August 30), on the day of Victory Day that marks the victory against the foreign forces during the War of Independence.
At the end of the Congress, CHP released a 5 item final declaration outlining the conclusions reached as a result of the four days long seminars and workshops held in western Çanakkale province with the participation of over 700 guest speakers and over 10000 members of the public.
Organized as a continuation of the ‘search for justice’, which was started by CHP chair earlier in June with his long Justice March from Ankara to İstanbul, the Justice Congress of the main opposition was aimed to provide a platform ‘for everyone to voice their demand for justice’ and to discuss possible solutions to the deterioration of the justice system in the country.
The five items listed in the conclusion manifesto are: 1) the struggle for justice is legitimate; 2) ‘right to justice’ is a fundamental right; 3) this right is systematically violated in today’s Turkey; 4) the Justice Congress has created a collective democratic force; 5) and, a new movement for democracy, justice, and peace is being born.
Under the item noting the ‘violations of the right to justice’, eight fields of life were listed as areas requiring attention and solutions were defined for each.
For the violation of rights in courts, which is done due to lack of impartiality and independence of the members of the judiciary, it was suggested for an independent and impartial justice system to be created ‘urgently’ and for detained parliamentarians to be released.
The injustices faced within the state itself must be overcome through a system based on a solid separation of powers and checks and balances, as well as, a system based on merit, the manifesto said.
The elections system, which has been abused especially during the rigged referendum of April 16 on controversial constitutional changes, was also pointed out as a field in need of reform.
For the attainment of a fair distribution of wealth, establishment of laws aligned with a ‘social state’ was seen as the solution to tackle the growing injustices and gaps between the different classes of the society.
Addressing the increased efforts of the one man regime to create a complete political and cultural dominance in all parts of life in the country and to use religion as a tool while doing so, the participants of the Congress said in the manifesto that religious freedoms must be protected and reference to religion in the army, at courts, and at schools must be brought to an end.
Another field noted as seriously affected under unjust regulations and norms was the education field. Drawing attention to the aims of the government officials to eliminate scientific basis, as well as certain other topics such as the principles of the Republic and its founding president Atatürk, the manifesto said a reform in the education system that would keep science and reason as the fundamental principles must be made.
To fight against the injustices faced – especially by children, women, disabled, and disadvantaged groups - in daily life, the preparers of the manifesto wrote down that the officials’ verbal attacks and rhetoric encouraging polarization and clash must be stopped and that reconciliation must be obtained through positive and productive dialogue.
As a solution to the pressure on the media, the opposition members called for an immediate release of arrested journalists and for enactment of constitutional laws that would see the media as the fourth branch in a parliamentary system.