To ‘maintain peace and stability’ is AK Party’s priority says Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu


ANKARA – Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has unveiled the election manifesto of his Justice and Development (AK) Party ahead of Turkey’s Nov.1 polls.

“Above all, the AK Party aims to maintain peace and stability in Turkey in this election campaign,” he told a televised launch at ATO Congresium in the capital city of Ankara on Sunday.

From the manifesto titled “Turkey’s Roadmap with Peace and Stability,” Davutoglu introduced the his party’s main campaign themes, such as state protection of human dignity and democracy, equal citizenship, the drafting of a new constitution plus measures towards a people-oriented economic development.

“The AK Party manifesto is a reformist manifesto which cares about human dignity. It [the manifesto] is inclusive and aims at the growth of the Turkish economy,” Davutoglu said.

Turkey is heading for an early general election after no party succeeded in creating a ruling coalition after the June 7 poll.

The main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) have already announced their election programs.

Davutoglu stressed the need for a new civilian constitution in lieu of the post-1980 constitution currently in force, saying that a new healthier political system requires a new constitution that will focus more on fundamental rights and freedoms.

As expected, Davutoglu revealed the other significant part of the election manifesto as the government’s fight against any kind of terrorism, the PKK and the so-called ‘parallel state’.

He described AK Party as the “architect, enforcer and engine of the solution process” – referring to the early 2013 government initiative that aimed at ending the decades long conflict with the PKK.

“It is a moral, humane and conscientious duty for us to carry the process through to a settlement,” he said.

Davutoglu pledged to pursue the anti-terror efforts until the public order is restored, and preserve the solution process until “law, unity and brotherhood in the country are fully established.”

Turkey has been hit by a wave of attacks since the Suruc bombing on July 20.

Since then, the PKK — which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S. — renewed its armed attacks mostly in the country’s eastern and southeastern regions, which resulted in the derailment of the solution process.

“The terrorist organization [PKK] declared war on the solution process by resorting to illegality, violence and oppression.”

Saying that the AK Party will work to make peace prevail on Turkish land, Davutoglu added: “We will never give up until terrorists bury their guns.”

Davutoglu also stressed that no parallel organization must be allowed to emanate from within Turkish bureaucracy — a reference to a purported group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country’s institutions, including the judiciary and police, who are allegedly trying to undermine the government.

The manifesto announced by Davutoglu also brings forth equal citizenship as a “principle of human dignity”.

“No Turkish citizen will not be exposed to any discrimination based on people’s faith, color, gender, language, race, political view, philosophical mindset or lifestyle,” Davutoglu said.

Economic growth and wage increases were also promised in the AK Party manifesto.

Davutoglu said that, if elected, they would raise the monthly minimum wage to 1,300 Turkish liras (approx. $430). The current minimum wage is 1,000 Turkish liras net (approx. $334) per month.

He said young entrepreneurs looking to set up companies would be given grants of up to 50,000 Turkish liras and further interest-free loans of up to 100,000 liras.

Davutoglu also announced a gradual raise for pensioners, and tax cuts for farmers in agricultural materials.

Turkish premier also mentioned the introduction of a presidential system, which featured prominently in the AK Party’s June 7 election program, saying that his party believed it was the “effective and dynamic governing system” that their “New Turkey” vision necessitates, in order to prevent the “re-occurrence of past political instabilities”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been pushing for a new presidential system “where legislative and executive powers are independently active in the presence of democratic checks and balances”.

More than 54 million people are eligible to vote in Turkey’s Nov. 1 general election.

Turkish nationals living abroad will begin casting their votes between Oct. 8-25 at embassies, consulates and border gates.

In Turkey, the elections will start on Nov.1, at 8 a.m. (0600GMT) and finish at 5 p.m. (1500GMT).