Babacan: The right to a mother tongue should be constitutionally guaranteed
DEVA Party Chairman Ali Babacan announced his party’s 21st plan of action, the Basic Rights Action Plan, to the public at a press conference held on January 2 at the DEVA Party Headquarters. Babacan advocated for amending the constitution regarding mother tongues other than Turkish.
Babacan, who said, “No matter which subject you take into consideration, at its core is most definitely the law. We have a big and clear goal: our goal is democracy to the fullest,” continued:
“OUR COUNTRY IS EXPERIENCING ITS DARKEST AGE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS”
“The road to a true democracy is paved with rights and freedoms and equal citizenship. A strong government is one that does not discriminate, does not tolerate injustice, and protects human rights and ensures that everyone lives in safety. Our country is currently living in another twilight age of human rights. In the past, we were a country prominent for its human rights violations. No matter what right a citizen tried to use, they faced obstacles. In recent years, we have been witnessing a serious regression."
“WE WILL STRENGTHEN THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS”
"We will strengthen the freedom of the press in order to protect our democracy. We will protect the right of assembly and demonstration. We will prevent the local authorities’ misuse of power regarding the organization of meetings and demonstrations. We have one goal only: to expand the freedoms of our citizens. Freedom will not be too much for Turkey, the clothing of freedom will suit us quite well, everyone will see this.”
“FULL DEMOCRACY IS A MATTER OF SURVIVAL”
"Our aim is social peace and equality. We aim for a Turkey where everyone is equal and honorable citizens, regardless of whether they are Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Laz, Circassian, right-wing or left-wing, Sunni-Alevi, religious or not. We embrace all our ethnic, sectarian, and cultural diversity. We invite all of Turkey to a full democracy. Full democracy is not just a well-intentioned rhetoric, it is a matter of survival that cannot be delayed."
CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE FOR LANGUAGES IN ADDITION TO TURKISH
“We are advocating for a new, more inclusive, and more comprehensive understanding of citizenship to be developed in our country. One of the main ways to ensure that no one is exposed to discrimination in the country is the development of such a solid understanding of citizenship. We propose a reconsideration of Article 66 of our Constitution through an inclusive lens as required by the era we live in. We are aware of the fact that the right to a mother tongue comes to mind before all else when rights and freedoms are spoken, we are very clear on our stance in this matter. Everyone's mother tongue is their innate right. We have an equal closeness to each of these languages. We have given place to this issue in our action plan. We want Articl 42 of our constitution to be changed accordingly. We express that, in addition to Turkish, our common and official language, the right to use and develop the mother tongue in education should be constitutionally guaranteed. We say that the barriers to education in one’s mother tongue should be removed. As per requests from the ground, we express that the names of localities should be changed back to their original ones, and that this stands before us as an important goal.”
“WE WILL NOT TURN A DEAF EAR TO THE PAINS OF THE SATURDAY MOTHERS”
"I had said in the past that we would not remain blind to any pain nor deaf to any cry. Now I would like to reiterate this with an additional commitment. I would like to share our concrete commitment to the cases of enforced disappearances. We will not remain blind to the pain and deaf to the cries of the Saturday Mothers. In this regard, we will sign the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. In our Criminal Code, we will clearly regulate the act of enforced disappearance as a separate crime with no statute of limitations; we will define this act as a crime against humanity. There can be no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity."
“WE WILL SAY ONCE MORE THAT THERE IS ZERO TOLERANCE FOR TORTURE”
"We will save the honor of the rule of law. We will protect the lives of our citizens, and we will not turn a blind eye to violations of the right to life in prison. We will not tolerate the degrading treatment of our citizens by law enforcement under any circumstances. We will put an end to torture and strip searching. Ashamed of the fact that our country has reached the same point almost 20 years later, we will say once more, ‘zero tolerance to torture.’"
REGULATION OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
"One of the clear goals set forth in our action plan is to strengthen freedom of religion and conscience. We will do whatever the liberal understanding of secularism requires. We aim to establish an order in which the state is equidistant from all faiths. We will also remove all obstacles to the freedom of association for religious and faith communities. We will protect religious communities from arbitrary interventions with arrangements that we will make in the regulations of associations and foundations. Public scrutiny will be foundational, and no institution or structure will be privileged. We will recognize cemevis as places of worship. We will also adjust the curriculum of religious education. Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge classes will have an objective and pluralistic content, covering all religions." (PHOENIX)