Abdulkadir Özkan: "Mindset change needed"

Abdulkadir Özkan: "Mindset change needed"
Date: 4.3.2021 17:00

Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Özkan writes on new constitution debate in Turkey. Here is the full article.

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There are frequent changes in the constitution and laws. Even events and developments make change necessary. Despite all the changes made, the complaints do not end. As such, it is necessary to consider whether the main question is constitution and law or implementation. I still do not know whether it is so or not. I would like to convey an assessment that our professors expressed at the beginning of the academic year in Ankara Law Faculty in the 1960s and which, despite all this time passed, haunted me. The first thing they said to law students was, "A good law is bad in the hands of a bad practitioner, a bad law can work well in the hands of a good practitioner." In reminding this, I am not suggesting that the constitution and laws are immutable, unchangeable texts. If the constitution and laws were texts that cannot be changed anyway, there would be no point in going to the nation through elections and demanding the vote for a certain period of time. In this respect, the frequently expressed constitutional amendment or the preparation of a new constitution, and rather than opposing the changes in the laws, political cadres and non-governmental organizations that have a say and opinion on the direction of the change to be made should be shared with the society. Otherwise, changes in the constitution and laws will come to the fore frequently.
The point I want to focus on is that there is a need for a mentality change first. Because in this country, our country is falling into a confusion due to the difference between what the political and civilian cadres say and do, who do not let down the songs of democracy and freedom. In other words, since the said and the practice differ, first of all, trust in the judiciary in the society begins to disappear. As such, make as many new constitutions and laws as you want, the result does not change. We know that while certain circles do not leave the human rights advocacy and the protection of democracy to anyone, they see the rights and freedoms that one segment of the society deem necessary for another segment.
In this respect, although there are deficiencies arising from the constitution and laws in our country, the main issue in my opinion is the mentality. The main problem in our country is the intolerance to differences. Although we often describe differences as the richness of our country, some segments only want freedom for their own thoughts and beliefs, while others see this right a lot. Whether this is a manifestation of hypocrisy or a sincere attitude, as a result, those who take power in our country see all kinds of injustice as a right for those who do not think and do not believe like themselves.
Of course, the framework of the crimes is determined by the constitution and laws. It decides within this framework determined by the judiciary. However, in our country, for some reason, there is a difference between the real thought and what is expressed. In my opinion, the reason for this difference is that the people who cannot tolerate the differences cannot realize the unity of words and actions.
As a result, the Human Rights Action Plan announced by President Erdogan was met with hesitation from the very beginning. For this reason, it has been reminded that the main target of the reform package announced is the election law or that the most important one is the implementation. However, if the tolerance of differences in society were internalized and this situation was reflected in practice, no hesitation should arise in their minds. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. We hope that the cadres who bring up a plan that every part of such a society will accept will be able to avoid declaring those who are not themselves traitors or terrorists. Because freedom and democracy first start and walk with tolerance to differences. Otherwise, the approach that every word of the powerful is true will prevail.


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