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POLITICS

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POLITICAL VISION OF AK PARTi FOR 2023 POLITICS

POLITICAL IDENTITY
OF CONSERVATIVE
DEMOCRATISM
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is a conservative
democratic mass party that situates itself at the center of the
political spectrum.
The AK Party, which has started the most comprehensive
democratization and change process in the history of the
Republic, has been successful at five elections since its
foundation in 2001. AK Party has increased its votes in three
consecutive elections and has been in office during these terms.
The conservative democrat political identity that AK Party
developed has now been fully established and become a political
attraction. It is a source of inspiration for regional countries.
The conservativedemocrat political identity that AK Party has
been trying to develop has overlapping characteristics with
other practices of conservatism in the world. That said, this
political identity has been shaped by Turkeys sociocultural
characteristics and has a political style that has been shaped by
Turkey local dynamics.
In a predominantly Muslim country, this conservativedemocrat
understanding contributed significantly to the development of
democratic experience and set a precedent in its region.
Conservatism argues for limited government against all sorts
of authoritarianism, leaves change to societal dynamics,
underscores that freedom will only have meaning in its concrete
form and lends credit to intermediary mechanisms such as

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the family, NGOs and foundations. This political outlook can be


accommodated only with democracy. Critical thinking, ideational
and behavioral pluralism, fundamental rights and freedoms
as well as a political idea that values civility and tolerance have
redefined conservatism in a democratic form. AK Party has opted
for a new type of politics by predicating her civilizational values
and thus has introduced a different type of political vein in Turkish
politics.

Politics based on compromise According to our notion


of conservative democracy, the realm of politics is based on a
culture of compromise. The articulation of societal differences
in the realm of politics can only become possible if politics are
founded on a basis of compromise. Societal and cultural diversity
should participate in politics on the foundation of democratic
pluralism produced by tolerance and allowance. Participatory
democracy develops by representing this diversity and including
it into the political process.
Conservative democracy which is in favor of limited and defined
political government views totalitarian and authoritarian
approaches as enemies of democratic politics. Conservative
democracy values political legitimacy based on the will of the
people and the common values of humanity.
The rule of law necessitates limiting governments and
institutions according to objective rules and laws emanating from
universal values. Also, it is not acceptable that the state narrows
itself to a taboolike space due to ideological preferences and
dictates unduly onto the people. The state should recede to its
actual functions and should be small, dynamic and effective.
It should not define, shape or impose its preferences onto its
citizens but should be an entity that is defined, controlled and
shaped by the citizenry.

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Reformist politics The platform of democratic politics is


a space where all sorts of problems are articulated, where all
societal demands are reflected and where right and wrong will be
corrected by experience.
Conservative democracy is based on an understanding that
favors gradual and phased change over topdown change.
Societal change is the most fundamental and durable form of
change. Interrupting socioeconomic, cultural and political life is
negative as it abrogates accumulated knowledge, experience and
historical development. Also, attempting to impose totalitarian
approaches from topdown to society no longer has an impact.
Conservatisms key promise is to protect traditional structures
and carry historical gains into the future against totalitarian
revolutionary interventions.
Conservatism refuses radicalism and societal engineering.
Politics should be based on compromise, defragmentation and
tolerance rather than conflict and polarization. Change should
be achieved by protecting the core values and gains of traditional
structures.

Politics that normalizes the system The most important


aspect of the political identity that AK Party has developed is
its aim to normalize Turkish politics. For decades, Turkish
politics has been under the shadow of tensions arising from the
relationships between religionpolitics, traditionmodernity,
religionstate and statesocietyindividual. These tensions have
narrowed the space for politics and have caused numerous
problems. AK Party has attempted to reconstruct these
relationships and free them of being problem areas; it has
impeded the progress of crisisprone tutelage approaches and
thus has normalized the political system.

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AK Party has been able to maintain its existence, keep Turkish


democracy functioning and take it even further. The fact that the
AK Party won successive elections and became a permanent
feature of Turkish politics although it had been founded just
before its first election demonstrates that normalization has been
achieved.

Realistic politics Turkish politics has witnessed for a long


time abstruse, doubtful and unclear political behavior and empty
political discourse. Parties that have formed governments
have been seen to lose their identities due to pragmatism and
populism and have surrendered to the conjectural developments.
Such parties ended up defending views contrary to their political
philosophy and thus found themselves in a crisis of genuine
representation and consistent discourse. AK Party, which
has been defining its direction clearly via its party program,
government program and urgent action plan has fended off
doubtful approaches and gained the confidence of society.
AK Party has defined its politics via its party and government
programs and has thus presented a measurable performance,
increased the quality of politics and frustrated those who accused
the party of having a hidden agenda.

Embracing unity politics AK Party situates itself as a


meeting point of individuals who come from different political
traditions on the basis of established values and principles.
Divisive identity politics which has put one religion, sect or
ethnic identity at the center of its political program has polarized
politics and caused the marginalization of such movements.
By contrast, AK Party has treated the issues of all societal
segments as political issues and attempted to solve them within
the framework of overall democratization. By embracing unity
politics, AK Party has grown and become an assurance for
Turkeys unity and indivisibility.

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Prochange politics AK Party has initiated the most


comprehensive change and transformation campaign in
Republican history and embarked on reform that has crowned
our Republic as an advanced democracy.
AK Party does not view conservatism as being opposed to
change. Rather, it defines conservatism as being opposed to
authoritarian and radical change. It has thus completed silent
revolutions based on an understanding of gradual change and
societal dynamics.

Principled politics As a conservativedemocrat party,


AK Party has been able to simultaneously implement real and
normative politics and followed principled and consistent politics.
It has been able to establish correct linkages between principles,
traditions, events and real politics and made valuebased policy
choices and maintained its principled stance in the face of
government erosion.

High politics AK Party has not refrained from tackling


systemic problems in a comprehensive manner. The successful
fight against the mafia and other illegal organizations, progress
on issues ranging from the Cyprus issue to the Armenian
Question, from the democratic opening to civilianmilitary
relations demonstrates AK Partys prioritization for high politics.
AK Party pays attention to micro problems while also fully
engaging in macro issues.
AK Party will continue to maintain its conservativedemocrat
political imagination and shape the future of Turkey.

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POLITICS POLITICAL VISION OF AK PARTi FOR 2023

POLITICS,
DEMOCRACY,
CONSTITUTION
AND RIGHTS
Advanced Democracy
AK Party defines advanced democracy as an institutionalized
and free democracy in which an individuals indispensable, non
transferrable, immune rights and freedoms can be fulfilled and
protected against all kinds of the authority of the state. Advanced
democracy is one in which the will of the citizen has a direct
impact on state institutions not only through elections but also
through decisions and controls exercised by citizens in every
aspect of public life.
AK Party views democracy as a process that develops and
advances with the wide participation of the people. Democracy
is a regime of tolerance, dialogue and negotiation where the
rule of law and principles of administration are shaped by the
consent and will of the people. In democratic regimes, the will
of the people is reflected through free and fair elections where
the use of final authority and implementation power is exercised
by institutions formed via elections. All sorts of differences and
minority views are protected.
In democratic administrations, the majority cannot impose its
will on the minority and vice versa; a pluralist understanding is
the norm where the implementation and exercise of power is
inspected by objective criteria based on universal judicial norms.
NGOs, the media, opinion makers, professional organizations and
other similar organizations play a key role in this process.

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Since 2001, AK Party has initiated the most comprehensive


democratization campaign in Republican history and has led
many diverse societal groups so that democracy can be exercised
with all of its institutions and rules in its ideal form. By breaking
the political tutelage, AK Party has made it possible for the will
of the people to be reflected in institutions and organizations. AK
Party has completed many reforms so that an open and organized
society can emerge.
AK Party has rejects incomplete democracy and will continue
to intensify its efforts to reach the standards of advanced
democracies.
AK Party, which aims at validating advanced democratic norms
and implementation forms in every aspect of public life, wants
to set an example for a strong democracy supported by well
established institutions.

Our Political Stance


AK Party believes in the need for the whole body politic to be
transformed into a mechanism that solves problems. This outlook
has widened the space of politics and increased the impact,
credibility and power of the body politic.
The misguided notion that labeled the reflection of the will of
the people as politicization in a negative sense and aimed
at eliminating through interest groups bureaucratic oligarchy
has lost its power due to the decisive struggle led by AK Party.
The development of politics has thus been perceived as the
development of democratic administration that strengthens the
will of the people.
According to AK Partys concept of politics, the will of the people
is the ultimate source of legitimacy. Any other option that could
overshadow the will of the people cannot be tolerated.
Since 2002, AK Party has completed major legislative reforms
which were stipulated in its program. It has taken major steps to
widen the rule of law, to develop democracy and human rights,
and to expand political freedoms in order to reach advanced
democratic standards.
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Within this framework, the minimum age for becoming a Member


of Parliament was lowered from 30 to 25. Also, electing the
president by public vote was approved.
In light of our understanding of participatory democracy,
referenda as a medium were given due importance; the will of the
people became not only limited to voting in elections but became a
medium for participation through referenda.
In order to facilitate a proper reflection of the will of the
people rules, principles and regulations pertaining to election
propaganda, election limitations as well as election security,
vote counting and documentation were redesigned with a view
to increase transparency. Polling boxes and voting cabins have
been upgraded to modern standards; colored votes have been
introduced for parliamentary elections. Political parties and
candidates have been allowed to campaign with their local
language and dialects.
In order to increase voters participation in general elections and
referenda by citizens living abroad, technical and administrative
deficiencies have been overcome. Citizens living abroad have
become able to vote in the countries where they reside.
AK Party governments have taken important steps in the way
of increasing transparency and fight against corruption. AK
Party began a comprehensive and uncompromised campaign
against corruption and reaped its benefits in a short time. In
this conjunction several laws have been introduced or amended
such as Law on Information Access, Law on Associations and
Endowments and Public Procurement Law. Moreover it created
center of information at the Prime Ministers Office in order to
enable the citizen to directly interact with the public agencies
and started implementation of Strategy to Fight Unregistered
Economy.
Under AK Party governments Turkey has become a signatory to
international anticorruption conventions.
Thanks to these measures Turkey has taken a progressive stance
in anticorruption efforts. As a result politics, economy and
society have been positively influenced. AK Party will further its
determined struggle against corruption in the path to 2023.
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Political Parties
Political parties are indispensable actors in a democracy.
That said, the current constitution and laws stipulate certain
limitations on party regulations, organizations, programs and
activities.
It seems that political parties are defined as if they are ordinary
bureaucracies, their programs and regulations bureaucratic
regulations and their activities ordinary state activities. A uniform
political understanding has been made supreme in politics.
This notion of politics goes against the idea of political parties
as an institution for the people. This is also the product of an
understanding that does not believe politicians can carry the
responsibility of the people and thus mistrusts and discredits
politics and politicians.
AK Party has combated this concept of politics since its founding.
Protecting the will of the people as reflected in the ballot box was
seen as sacred. The Party has lifted democracy and the will of the
people and completed important reforms that have underlined
the will of the people. It has widened the realm of civic politics
and reinstituted respect for politics and politicians.
In a real state where the rule of law is supreme, the right to form
a political party, the ability to prepare the program and bylaws of
a party according to their free will should be protected.
AK Party has eased the conditions to form a new political
party. While prior to these changes only individuals who had
qualifications necessary to run for Parliament were allowed
to form a new party, changes have been introduced to allow
qualified individuals to become members of a political party to set
up a new party.

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We aim at changing and freeing limiting, penalizing and


authoritative stipulations in the constitution and relevant laws
dealing with founding a new party, preparing party programs and
bylaws, party organizations and intraparty democracy. Hence,
we want to further widen and free the political space.
In the future, we aim to overcome a uniform organization
for political parties via legal frameworks. Instead, we aim at
introducing legislation that would guarantee parties to be formed,
organize and engage in propaganda activities freely. We also plan
to introduce legislation that would allow parties to organize in a
free and democratic manner without any complications.
Also, new reforms will be introduced to achieve advanced
democratic standards on party closures and limitations to
exercise politics a defect that has put Turkey in a difficult
situation internationally. Party signs and institutional identities
cannot commit abuses and should not be encouraging individuals
to commit crimes. Committing a crime can only be done by
members, delegates or officials of the party. Crime and penalties
are for persons only. To penalize a party due to a crime or
abuse by a party member or official is also contrary to the
principle of the individuality of a crime. If there are crimes and
abuses committed by party members, they should be penalized
according to the Penal Code.
We will pass new laws that will prevent party closures due to
the actions of members of parliament or party members. Our
approach is to not penalize a party but party members in case of
a crime.

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One of the most important problems confronting politics is the


stipulation pertaining to the eligibility of party members. In a
democratic country there could be nothing as normal as citizens
seeking to solve their problems via political means. Keeping
citizens out of politics means that we keep them out of problem
solving mechanisms defined by the rule of law.
Therefore penalties which limit political participation and
exercising politics will be lifted. Except for the judiciary, security
bureaucracy and convicts, we aim at lifting limiting arrangements
for all citizens who want to become a member or administrator of
a political party.
In the Constitution and the Political Parties Law, there are many
limiting stipulations. Most of these penalties are impossible to
implement and reflect a mentality that aims at cutting the voice
of politics. Such penalties narrow the scope of politics. These
penalties and limitations which are not in accordance with
democracy and the rule of law will be lifted.

Elections
In the new period, we aim at lifting problematic legal stipulations
which pertain to election system and elections, limitations to the
right to be elected and elect as well as amendments that would
make representation more just. We will make amendments and
changes to the Constitution, Law 298 on Fundamental Precepts
of Elections and Voting Lists, Law 2820 on Political Parties and
Law 2839 on Parliamentary Elections.
We will lift all antidemocratic impediments and limitations to
the right to elect and to be elected. Legal amendments will be
introduced that will facilitate better democratic representation,
and increase democratic standards, allow for closer relations
between MPs and the people.

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Legal changes will be initiated that will allow the Higher Election
Council, responsible for the administration and inspection of
elections, to fulfill its duties better. In order to democratize the
Higher Election Council, make it more transparent and improve
its efficiency, a permanent structure will be established that
would allow members of the judiciary and candidates proposed
by the Parliament to become members.

Political System
For almost 200 years, a live debate over administrative and
political systems has been continuing.
Although Turkish political history has had at times strong and
stable governments, overall we have had unstable, weak and
ineffective coalition governments.
Turkey always grew and developed during times of political
stability and strong government. The Menderes years, the zal
era and the AK Party era are concrete examples that prove
our point. When there was no political stability and strong
government, we have always had political, economic and social
crises where the country as a whole has lost.
Governments who were multiparty, weak, without fast decision
making reflexes and political will were open to all sorts of anti
democratic interventions and overshadowed by political tutelage.
It is no coincidence that political, economic and social crises
increased during such periods. Such periods were costly for our
country both domestically and internationally.
In light of our political experiences and history, the debate to
find the right recipe for a system that would produce political
stability has been continuing in our country for years. Through
political and legal reforms, AK Party has lifted the impediments
for a fruitful debate and thus made important contributions to the
discussion.

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For Turkey to reach its 2023 goal, it needs strong governments


that can produce justice, trust and stability. Turkey needs
effective and strong governments in order to solve its current
problems and fulfill its regional and global ambitions.
Following the referendum that foresees the election of the
president by public vote, a change in the political system has
become a necessity. We need to discuss what sort of model and
political system would shape Turkeys future. Henceforth, the
options of a partyaffiliated presidency, semipresidential system
or presidential system should be debated within this framework.
The aim of this debate should be to transform political stability
from being a transitory phenomenon to an institutional one.
It is a must for Turkey to switch to a system of governance that
would not be paralyzed by weak and powerless governments
open to intervention. Rather, we need a political system would
reflect the will of the people more effectively where there would
be absolute separation and independence between legislature
and executive power, where the executive would be properly
controlled by the legislature, where there would be stable,
effective and powerful executive, where there would be an ability
to take fast and courageous decisions to solve problems and
overcome crises and where accountability and transparency
would be paramount.
AK Party believes that there is a structural problem in Turkeys
political system and it is thus seeking a structural remedy to
the problem. Therefore, either a presidential, semipresidential
or partyaffiliated presidency choice should be selected and
implemented.

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A New Constitution
AK Party is determined since its foundation to draft a new
constitution that would reflect its advanced democracy
understanding; that would be prepared with the widest possible
agreement and democratic methods and that would be owned by
all parts of society.
From the beginning, AK Party has been struggling to prepare
a pluralist and free constitution that would not be exclusive but
inclusive, not othering but embracing, not divisive but uniting,
not penalizing but freeing, not uniform but diverse.
Terms such as fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule
of law, freedom of thought and religion are not present in a
universal manner in the 1982 Constitution. They are present in
the Constitution within their own narrow and limited meaning.
Although the 1982 Constitution was amended 17 times and
half of its content has been changed, the stipulation that the
Constitution should be understood and interpreted in line with
the essence and respect to its soul and with absolute faith at
the preface, amendments have been subjected to ideological
interpretations and thus have been rendered meaningless.
Despite attempts for change, the concept of the essence and
soul of the Constitution, which began with the 27 May 1960
military coup, has served as a shield of tutelage and protection
against true democracy.
AK Party has been instrumental in arguing for the need of a
new constitution and has facilitated a better understanding
of our society for such a need. Political and judicial problems
experienced since 2002 have gradually served to remind our
society that the main issue is the constitution and that the crux of
the matter lies with the soul of the constitution. Henceforth, AK
Party has been raising the issue of a new constitution since 2007
and has taken a number of steps in that direction.

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AK Party has worked on its own prior to the 12 September 2010


referendum, passed constitutional amendment on its own and
presented it to the nation. Other parties have not contributed
to the amendments and have not believed in them. Prior to the
12 June 2011 election, all parties have campaigned for a new
constitution. Although belated, it is important that all parties
agree that there is a need for a new constitution. Consequently,
after the election, preparations for a new constitution have
begun.
AK Party has led the new constitution process and contributed
in a constructive manner. We have proposed a new commission
instead of the TGNA Constitution Commission. This was because
in the TGNA Constitution Commission all parties are represented
according to their weight in the TGNA. This would have given AK
Party a huge majority in the commission. Henceforth, AK Party
proposed a Consensus Commission where all parties would
participate voluntarily and each has three representatives. As
was with the idea of drafting a new constitution, in the actual
drafting of the new constitution, AK Party is again the architect of
the process.
Turkey must complete the new constitution process. A new
constitution is necessary; no one, no political party can escape
from this responsibility. The world has changed, Turkey has
changed; politics based on political tutelage emanating from
military coups has bankrupted. People are now conscious of their
will and its supremacy. The mentality of the current constitution
has been liquidated. Therefore, a new constitution must be
drafted sooner than later.
AK Party has outlined clear principles in relation to a new
constitution. Constitutions should be made up of two sections.

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The first section should deal with fundamental rights and


freedoms; the second with the structure and functioning
of the state. In relation to the first section, we propose that
fundamental rights and freedoms are not a favor by the
constitution or the state but rather based on fundamental human
rights that go beyond the constitution. In relation to the second
section, we propose every individual or institution who exercises
sovereign power should directly or indirectly base that power on
the will of the people. No person or institution that does not base
itself on the will of the people can exercise sovereign power.
The current constitution harbors an ethos that thinks of the
people as belonging to the state. The new constitution needs
to reverse that. The notion of people as a property of the
state is unacceptable. People should own the state. The new
constitutional process should introduce a new paradigm in this
area.
Together with the people, AK Party will continue to struggle in a
determined way so that Turkey will have a new, democratic, civil
and free constitution. Whatever the positions of others, AK Party
will not budge from its aim to draft a new constitution because
Turkeys economic and social potential and the target we wish to
realize in the world necessitate a new constitution.
AK Party, which works sincerely and in a determined fashion in
the Consensus Commission will continue to maintain its will to
draft a constitution and seek compromises at every level until this
process is completed.

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Justice and Law


Our vision of justice is based on trust. This is why AK Party has
examined all of the issues related to the justice system carefully
and implemented necessary reforms without any hesitation.
Under AK Partys rule, Turkey has become a country where rule
of law is respected and every citizen has the power protect his
rights. Turkey is no longer a state of rules and regulations but a
state under the rule of law.
To reach this goal, we have implemented regulative and
structural changes, improved human resources, judiciary
mechanism, physical and technological infrastructure and
more than 70 % of our Judiciary Reform Strategy has been
implemented.
As we have promised, we managed to realize crucial changes
and carried out one of the most important legislative changes
in our history. AK Party has made numerous constitutional
amendments and renewed many of the laws that have not kept
with the needs and demands of our age. Among the changed laws
are the Turkish Criminal Code, the Law of Criminal Procedure,
the Penal Code, the Juvenile Law, the Law of Misdemeanor,
Turkish Trade Law, Turkish Law of Obligations, Civil Procedures
Law and Notification Law.
Under AK Party Governments, the military courts have been
made part of the state of law. Our ultimate goal is to reach
judicial unification in both military and civilian courts system.
In 2011 and 2012, we passed three major reform packages in
order to make our judicial system more efficient and transparent.
We will continue to improve our legal system in tandem with our
2023 Vision.

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We will pass the 4th judicial reform package in order to speed up


judicial processes.
We will expand the definition of hate crimes to include all
speeches and acts that contain religious and ethnic hate,
discrimination, insult and provocation. We will introduce strong
measure to ban hate speech.
We have taken a number of steps to protect basic rights and civil
liberties and will continue to do so.
Turkey has faced numerous court cases at the European Court
of Human Rights. We have taken new measures to address this
issue and established the Human Rights Office within the Ministry
of Justice. This Office will look into cases of human rights
violations.
We have sent many judges to the Council of Europe and the
European Court of Human Rights.
We have taken an important step and made the ECHR decisions
and interpretations a criterion for the appointment of judges.
Turkish citizens can now apply to the Constitutional Court for
their individual cases a revolutionary step that will make the
Turkish Constitutional Court function as a human rights court.
Starting on September 3, 2012, we have begun to appoint legal
councilors in our diplomatic missions around the world in order
to help our citizens with their legal cases in the countries in which
they live.

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Fundamental Rights and


Freedoms
The essence of government and politics based on the sanctity
of the human person is to improve universal human rights and
freedoms at every level.
We as AK Party define the moral purpose of politics as legitimacy,
fairness and justice and believe that the maintenance of justice
in every sphere of life is necessary for a peaceful society and
successful state. This requires the rule of law and fairness. A
democratic, harmonious relationship between the state and
citizens is possible only by accepting and expanding peoples
fundamental rights.
The raison dtre for AK Partys existence is to realize justice and
fairness in the widest sense of the term. To improve rights and
freedoms is the main principle to resolve oldage problems as
well as todays issues. We believe that the improvement of rights
and freedoms will play a crucial role in enhancing the exemplary
features of Turkey in the future.
Since its birth, AK Party acted with a political vision that has given
priority to rights and freedoms to lay the ground for Turkey in
2023.
We believe that such a politics, combining concepts of right and
freedom from our own civilizational values will improve the
relations between the state and society, the state and individual,
and family and individual as well as the relations between
different segments of society.
While being careful for social unity and cohesiveness, we will
improve all rights and freedoms without any hesitation and
without any fear or uneasiness. We believe that doing so is a
requirement of fairness, maintaining justice and establishing
social solidarity in our society.

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Zerotolerance policy will continue to be implemented against


any violation of human rights. A single violation of right of an
individual is a violation of rights of all our citizens. This is why
we established the Human Right Institution of Turkey, allowed
individual appeals to the Constitutional Court, and founded the
Ombudsman mechanism. These mechanisms will guarantee
the protection of rights and will be implemented to prevent all
violations of human rights, discrimination and other exclusionary
practices.
On the basis of fundamental human rights and laws, we once
again underline our understanding of the principle of secularism.
Secularism should be understood as a principle that keeps the
state in equal distance to all religions and religious groups,
prevent the dominance of one religious group over others, and
take the freedom of belief as an indispensable part of democracy.
In our view, secularism refers to the impartial stance of the
state toward all religions and beliefs. AK Party takes secularism
neither to be enmity to religions nor irreligion; rather, we
take secularism to be the guarantee of all religions and belief
systems.
For AK Party, secularism is a principle of freedom of religion and
conscience that works as a principle of freedom and peace, a
guarantee for both religious and nonreligious people to live and
organize their life and believes freely, to explain and practice their
beliefs freely.
AK Party rejects all exploitation of sacred religious values, be it
political, economic or otherwise.
Creating pressure on religious people in a democratic country,
where differences are supposed to live together, will negatively
impact pluralism, coexistence, dialogue and tolerance.

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AK Party believes that inciting and discriminating religious


people, for their choice and lifestyle, or the exploitation of
religion to put pressure on people having different lifestyle is an
unacceptable situation. These are antidemocratic attitudes and
contradict human rights and freedom.

The Process of National


Unity and Fraternity
The Project of National Unity and Fraternity is a major democratic
initiative implemented by AK Party to expand the sphere of
civil liberties while fighting against PKK terrorism. We have
implemented revolutionary democratic transformation and
humancentered reforms. Indeed, all reforms, implementations
and decisions made throughout this process are concrete signs
of our humancentered and freedombased politics.
Ethnic, religious and regional nationalisms have constituted
the red lines of our politics because we reject all kinds of
discrimination. Our effort has been characterized by a vision
that values differences as part and parcel of our social unity and
cohabitation on the basis of citizenship of the Republic of Turkey.
Religious, ethnic, social and cultural rights have been freely
exercised under successive AK Party governments we have taken
all the necessary measure to make it happen.
We have implemented new policies to heal the wounds of all
discriminatory practices previously meted out to religious, ethnic
and social groups.
A multidimensional approach has been applied to resolve
chronic problems damaging the sense of social unity, and this
is why we have implemented The Project of National Unity and
Fraternity to resolve the problems that different ethnic and
religious groups face in Turkey.

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POLITICS POLITICAL VISION OF AK PARTi FOR 2023

We have made a paradigmatic shift in resolving longstanding


problems of our Kurdish citizens and South East of Anatolia. We
have developed effective means to fight against state negligence,
development problems and discriminatory practices.
We have clearly separated the question of terrorism from the
basic democratic rights of our citizens. We have effectively ended
all policies of negation, denial and assimilation. Overcoming
longestablished fears and taboos has enabled both the state
and the society to confront the realities and allowed a democratic
discussion of the problems. In implementing this approach, we
have normalized political and social life and never sacrificed
freedom for the sake of security or sacrificed security at the
expense of freedom.
Over the last decade, we have taken giant steps for the
improvement of basic human rights and freedoms, unconditional
realization of the primacy of rule of law, democratization, and
strengthening of civil society. In that line, OHAL (Governance
of Extraordinary Condition), DGMs (State Security Courts)
and Special Authorized Courts have been abolished and zero
tolerance policy to torture has been implemented. A civilian
has been appointed as the Secretary General of the National
Security Council for the first time; the decisions of the Higher
Military Council have been opened to juridical process; the
special EMASYA protocol for military forces has been lifted; the
law for the Right to Access Information has been passed for a
transparent government; the closure of political parties has
been made more difficult; and the right to found associations and
allowing foundations to own property has been made easier. In
all of these steps, we have aimed to expand the limits of the right
to organize in political and social areas according to the Europe
Convention of Human Rights.

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To allow different ethnic groups to express themselves, we have


started 24hour public broadcasting on national TV and given
permission to private radios and TVs for broadcasting in native
languages. The bans on political propaganda in native languages
or freedom of speaking native languages in prisons have been
lifted. The bans on giving local names to children and using local
names for cities has also been lifted. We have made it easier to
give public service to citizens who cannot speak Turkish. Our
universities have now departments and institutions in local
languages. All of our citizens have the right and means to learn
their own native languages. In the state public school, student will
be able to learn their own language.
The previous unjust practices against the speaking and learning
of native languages have been ended and today the state
itself accepts the responsibility to teach children their native
languages.
Specific plans have been implemented for regional development.
During our era, to reduce the regional gaps we have
implemented the most comprehensive development plan and
have invested around 35 billion dollars in South East Anatolia. We
will continue to work on the social and economic aspects of this
issue. With specific stimulus plans, private sector will increase
its investment. KDRP (Returning and Rehabilitation of Villages
Project), compensating citizens for their losses, GAP, BELDES,
KYDES, Social Support Programs, Regional Development
Agencies and other project have changed the face of the Southern
Anatolian region.
Regardless of ethnic identities, we have strengthened the bonds
of trust between individual and the state and enhanced the
legitimacy of democratic state.

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As our task and responsibility, we will continue to realize this


vision for a strong Turkey. We, as AK Party, aim to expand and
deepen the will of the people for living together with strong
democratic vision and high standards.
We will continue to implement the strategy of National Unity and
Solidarity and there remain many things to do.
In this line, some of the steps are as follows:
The problems we had in the courts with defense in native
languages will be resolved by a legal amendment.
The official language is Turkish. However, we will take all
the necessary steps to ease the process in getting public
services in native language.
We will pass the law for establishing a civil structure named
Independent Monitoring Mechanism to follow and resolve
the complaints of our citizens
We will pass the law for Commission for Equality and
Fighting against Discrimination.
Legal arrangement for the Protection of Personal
Information will be completed.
Antidemocratic regulations that have previously been used
as pretext for military intervention will be removed.
We will change all names, associated with military
intervention, given to the public places and institutions
We have already changed several regulative aspects,
implying ethnic discrimination in the legislation. The next
task is to finalize this process in every detail.

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The Fight Against Terrorism


and Domestic Security
Terrorism has become to display its impact in different parts
of the world and it threatens the world peace. The fight against
terrorism is a process, which should be led by collective
responsibility of the government, opposition, political parties, the
media and all relevant institutions.
AK Party came to power following a period of politics of denial,
refusal and assimilation and during which the rights and the
freedoms of our people were put aside in the name of fight
against terrorism in the 1990s. It gave priority to personal
rights and freedoms and ended the politics of denial, refusal and
assimilation. The fight against terrorism is carried out within the
boundaries of law and democracy and extreme caution is taken
as not to disrupt the daily life of our people.
We broke the dark vicious circle that contributed to legitimizing
and strengthening antidemocratic elements within the state on
the one hand and the terrorist movement on the other by putting
an end to the antidemocratic and repressive practices in the
fight against terrorism.
AK Party protects the balance between democracy and security
in its fight against terrorism. Freedoms are protected along with
effective fight against terrorism.
We approach the issue of security as a whole with its
humanitarian, political, civilian, military, economical, cultural,
sociological and psychological aspects and within a regional
perspective.

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We will continue to pursue policies that aim to protect the


welfare, rights and freedoms of the local people and the
structure of the unitary state with the aim of solving problems
definitely in an effective way that would not lead to a weakness in
the struggle against terrorism which is threatening the region.
AK Party, implementing a multidimensional struggle against
terrorism will continue to take all the necessary legal and
legitimate steps and means to put a complete end to the
problem.

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SOCIETY

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Social Policies
Family: As a conservative democrat party, we value family. The
driving force behind our social policies is to protect and support
families that are the strength of our community and builders of
our future.
What distinguishes us and gives us advantage is our strong family
structure. In fact, it is our strong family structure that sustains
our community despite all difficulties and social and individual
traumas.
We, as AK Party, have followed policies dedicated to improving
the living standards of women, the young and the elder who make
up the pillars of our community.
We, as AK Party, have always defended market economy and free
trade, but we have never given into to the savagery of capitalism.
The state does not play the main role in the economy, but rather
the role of an auditor and monitor.
The redistribution of funds gained from private sector oriented
economies in order to increase the living standards of our people
and take care of our disadvantaged has always been our most
fundamental policy.
We have always valued the principle of a social state and
we continue to value it. To this end, in order to give the most
effective, productive and expedient service, all institutions of
social welfare services were merged under the roof of Ministry of
Family and Social policies.
We increased our social spending to sixteen times of what it was
in 2002. The ratio of social spending to GDP has also increased
three fold.
In the year of 2012, we began a monetary support program for
widowed women. 192.109 women have already applied to the
program.

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Maintaining the dignity of our people who receive assistance


under our social policies has been a sensitive and important
issue for us. To this end, in order to shift our approach to social
services from a focus on demand to a focus on supply that
provides case specific services, we launched the Family Social
Support Initiative (ASDEP). We are in the process of completing
the two pilot programs, in Karabk and Krkkale, under this
initiative.
This initiative aims to determine families in need of social support
and services utilizing an objective and standardized criteria;
inform them of our services as well as other programs they can
take advantage of; and to ensure they receive the support they
need. In other words, this initiative aims to increase the living
standards of disadvantaged families by ensuring that they benefit
from all social support programs they are eligible for.
The case and context specific approach to social services will
deliver the services families need the most. Furthermore, the bill
that provides for the establishment of Private Family Counseling
Centers has been passed and steps towards establishing these
centers have already been made.
AK Party considers the family unit as the most important factor
in raising the mentally and physically healthy citizens with strong
moral and ethical values the new Turkey needs. As such, we will
work towards creating social awareness in all segments of
our community in order to protect and value the family unit. One
of the ways to achieve this will be developing an effective social
policy that strengthen the institution of marriage, protects the
unity of the family and maintains family values.
In order to protect the unity and happiness of the family we will
initiate the social services counseling system that reaches to all
families and provides support to families in the family home.

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We will prioritize the family unit in following all social welfare


programs and we will make sure that not a single family is living
under the poverty line by the end of 2023.
In order to strengthen the institution of family, we will establish
parenting schools and increase the number of family counseling
centers.
There will be a social services and rehabilitation center in every
neighborhood within walking distance of every single family.
We will execute policies aimed at protecting and strengthening
the unity of the family in tandem with policies on housing,
education, social security and income distribution.
We will also develop social policies to provide services to Turkish
families who live abroad.
In order to increase access to social services centers, we will
establish them not only in center provinces but also in other
relatively populous provinces.

Women: Assistance for balancing work and family life will be


provided. Childcare assistance will be given to mothers, and
opportunities for children to be placed in private or public day
care will be created.
We will also establish Business Development centers that
aim to support women entrepreneurs in collaboration with
KOSGEB (Small Medium Enterprises Development Organization).
Financial support will be provided for the alumni of the Business
Development Centers.
Our goal is to increase the number of women in the workforce
to 40% and women employment to 38%. The incentive programs
first offered in 2008 and more recently enacted with law 6111
have been extremely effective in increasing youth and women
employment. These programs will be continued.

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We implement a zero tolerance policy on violence against


women. We believe that violence against women can be
prevented with the assistance of Violence Prevention Centers
and widespread protective services. To this end, we intend to
establish Violence Prevention Centers as well as Womens
Shelters in every city. By the end of 2012 Violence Prevention
Centers will be opened in 14 cities.

Children: Children are our biggest priorities. Children services


will be restructured. The system will be shifted from care in
group homes to care in foster families. By the end of 2014, 14,000
children will be part of a specialized child rehabilitation program.
Both those children who are victims of crimes and those who are
forced to commit crimes will be rehabilitated and their reentry to
society as productive members will be facilitated.
A Turkey in which all members of the society participate in
and contribute to child services and in which child neglect,
exploitation or violence against children do not exist will be
realized.
A Turkey in which childrens rights are adopted as the national
strategy and implement with all public resources will be realized.
Everything necessary for our children to grow into well educated,
respectful, pious and selfconfident individuals with perfect moral
and ethical values will be will be done.
It will be ensured that every child is given equal opportunity in
education. At least 50% of children who need special care will be
enrolled in specialized schools.
A preemptive and preventative approach will be adopted in order
to resolve problems before the children need child services by
giving support to their families.

Youth: Our youth are the spirit of our present and the assurance
of our future. The youth is a nations most precious treasure. Our
country has more of this treasure than other countries.

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AK Party has taken many effective steps to raise intuitive and


healthy individuals who are enriched at home and at school.
We have ended the injustice of coefficient system at university
placement exam.
We increased opportunities for housing, boarding, scholarship
and financial aid for higher education students in an
unprecedented manner. We have given assistance in the form of
financial aid or loan to every student that applied since 2003.
We have allocated 270 million TL annually for vocational training
to raise qualified workers in order to prevent unemployment.
We have issued a general amnesty to 800,000 students who
have quit their education for one reason or another (except
those who were indicted of terror crimes) at both graduate and
undergraduate level. This was the biggest student amnesty in
history.
We have also exempted business of young entrepreneurs from
their tax obligations in addition to providing them with startup
expenses.
Our youth will show their virtues that are becoming harder to
find in the world. Our exemplary youth will build a Turkey that is
singled out as an example in its region.
Legal, political, economic, social and cultural initiatives will be
launched in order to increase effective youth participation in
decisionmaking mechanisms.
We will increase youth centers and encourage and support young
people to develop and implement their own projects.
We will create affordable housing not only by collaborating with
TOKI (Housing Authority of Turkey) but also by supporting private
student residence halls.

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We intend to increase the capacity in our student residence halls


to 600,000 students by the end of 2023.
We have made a lot of progress in our initiative to transform our
residence halls into single or maximum three occupant rooms.
We will complete this process soon.
We will form Youth Information Spots in order to give the most
expedient and correct information on subjects of interest to the
youth.
We will improve vocational schools and vocational training
centers to become more effective in education. The workforce
various industries in our county needs will be created and at least
some of the factors that cause unemployment will be eliminated.
We will develop specialized incentive programs for young people
who wish to build their own business.
We will increase career planning and advancement services
offered to the youth. We will institute Business Building and
Development Centers in collaboration with universities and
occupational and professional associations. We will create
opportunities for university students to gain handson experience
and to practice what they learn in theory by encouraging
collaboration between private sector, public offices and
universities.
All necessary steps will be taken to increase youths access to art
and sports functions including increasing the number of youth
and culture centers in cities.

The Disabled: While working towards making our cities, public


buildings, facilities open to public and public transportation
accessible to the disabled we will work towards increasing
vocational training and employment of those who can work. We
will increase social services and support for the disabled.

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The quota in public sector for disabled employees has been


increased from 6434 in 2002, to 25,563 in 2012. The currently
empty 15,000 positions allocated to the disabled will be filled as
soon as possible.
The quota for the disabled in the private sector has been
increased from 10,226 in 2002 to 37,982 in 2012. Incentive
programs for the employment of the disabled in the private
sector will be maintained.
The government will pay the insurance premiums for a period of
one year of those who employ two or more employees in addition
to employing the disabled.
We are continuing our efforts on the proposed law on
establishing business protective of disabled rights. We expect to
pass it into law by the end of this year.
Disabled citizens will continue to be prioritized in terms of
home care services. Also initiatives to shift from an institutional
approach to the care of the disabled to a care at home approach.
Having already launched the Hope House Projects and Wellness
Centers with Obstacles projects, group home approach to child
services will be abolished for disabled children.
Furthermore, service standards for both private and public care
and rehabilitation centers will be increased.

Elderly: We will develop social policies and social services


programs in the form of active aging in order to get the benefit
of our senior citizens experience.
We will ensure the accessibility of all social services that assists
in healthy aging. We will develop social policies that assist provide
for home care or institutional care for the elderly in collaboration
with civil society organizations and public sector.

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Social Assistance: We will implement two types of social


service policies. First type of policies is those that provide for
better living standards for our citizens parallel to the progress
and development in country. Second type of policies will aim to
lift those who are in need of social assistance from their current
situation to conditions where they are more productive and self
sufficient.
We will implement a more effective social assistance policy with
the help of united social assistance and services project. With
the point system the designation of poverty will be made through
more objective set of criteria.
With the minimum income initiative a monetary assistance,
determined for each family on the basis of the number of the
household, the level of poverty, the number of elderly, children or
disabled in the household, will be provided.
Housing development project for the poor and the disadvantage
will be continued with the first target of 100,000 residences.
We will forge a strong and sustainable bond between social
assistance and employment.

Martyrs and Veterans: We will implement policies that will


provide our veterans and families of soldiers who died for our
country a life with dignity. To this end, we will not hesitate to take
any action to supply their economic and social needs.
In addition to the employment and other benefits afforded to our
veterans and fallen soldiers families by our recently enacted
law, we expect to provide support in terms of finding affordable
housing, scholarship for their children for private schools and
entrepreneurial support for those who want to start a business.

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Workforce and Social Security


We are planning for the working conditions of 2023 today. We are
determined to give our country a competitive edge in the global
market.
Fundamental regulations such as Social Security Reform, Labor
Law, Employment Packages, Health and Safety on the job and
collective contract bargaining for public servants have already
been realized.
In the upcoming term, we will reevaluate the law and regulations
on syndicates and trade unions inherited from the post
September 12 coup regime. We will enact the Collective Labor
Relations Law, drafted in accordance with universal standards,
that protects our workers right to association and collective
bargaining and understands peace in labor relations as the basis
of all economic progress.
We will solve the problem of lack of vocational skills which
is actually the main source of unemployment by allocating
approximately 1.5 billion TL and by giving vocational training to
400,000 unemployed, annually.
We will elevate the level of vocational skills and knowledge to the
required levels and vocational competence to world standards
by increasing the already implement 351 occupational standards
regulations to 1000.
We will continue the incentive programs we implement to
increase employment among women and disabled and we will
increase womens participation in the workforce to 38%. We will
also fill the currently empty 15,000 jobs allocated to disabled
citizens.
We will reevaluate subcontract work conditions and extend
the security of the law to the employees of subcontracts by
implementing regulations on work hours, vacation and sick pays
as well as the employees right to organize.

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We have decreased undocumented employment which causes


budget deficiencies, injustice in income distribution and which
deprives our workers from social security from 53% to 37%. We
aim to lower it to 15%.
We will increase the 2800 career counselors we employed under
the Every Unemployed Person Will Have a Counselor initiative
to 4000. As such, we will provide more qualified and professional
services in learning a vocation and searching for jobs.
In addition to our employment packages, national employment
strategies, vocational training, implementation of universal
occupational standards, we will offer more incentive packages
for employers, counseling services to the unemployed and
implement on the job training. On the 100 year anniversary of our
Republic, we will bring down the unemployed to the minimum
possible level.
We will reevaluate our public servant employment packages and
update it according to the needs and conditions of the present.
We have signed our name to substantial reforms in social
security. We have merged the Social Security Reform, which is
one of the most important links of the transformation chain our
country is undergoing right now, with social security institutions
under one roof. We have achieved unity of norms and standards.
We eliminated discrimination in health services. We have
provided unconditional healthcare security to all our children
under 18. A sustainable social security system that embraces
75 million citizens from birth to death has been created.
In addition, adjustment to pensions demanded by our retirees
has been made. Veteran and fallen soldier pensions have been
increased and victims of terror were given salaries. The General
Health Insurance that has been long discussed about but not
implement has finally been realized. It was finally implemented
on January 1st, 2012.

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We are determined to sustain a social security and healthcare


system that is easily accessible and just for all of our citizens. We
will continue to strictly follow the principles of a social state.
Towards this end, we will balance the incomeexpense balance
and we will decrease the social security deficiency ratio to the
GDP to 1%. We will shift the funds achieved from this to areas it
can be used more effectively and productively.
We will decrease undocumented employment to the levels
observed in other developed countries. We will increase the
active vs. passive ratio to 3%.
We will move all our transactions to the electronic media so that
retirement process will take only a day.

Healthcare
Since the day we came into power in 2002, we have achieved
tremendous improvements in the healthcare. By our Healthcare
Transformation Plan, defined by the principle we named First
Priority is Human, we realized great achievements. We said
everyone deserves a decent healthcare and we managed to
carry out a paramount transformation.
With the pace and depth of improvements in our healthcare
indexes, the improvement has turned into a global success
story. With such an example of a concrete success in the
transformation, we displayed that we can hurdle all troubles and
realize all our goals, once we believe.
Under AK Partys governments, receiving a decent healthcare
is no more an exclusive privilege for some but a service to all
citizens by the state, regardless of income. In comparison to
developed countries, our citizens have the privilege of being a
citizen of a country having strong healthcare system. Necessary
decisions have been made for having such a system without any
hesitation and decisively.

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With such a perspective, we have integrated all public health


centers and hospitals, beginning from SSK (Social Insurance
Institution) hospitals. Aiming to cover further the needs of low
income people, we have expanded the rights of our citizens
holding Green Cards. The coverage of healthcare and medical
expenses has been expanded. Our citizens are no more captives
in the hands of private clinics (consulting rooms), wasting their
income because of destructive and weakening medical expenses.
Medical costs have been reduced significantly. The burden of
medical expenses on both public and private individual has been
lessened greatly.
Urgent Healthcare service have become available not only in
the urban areas but also in the rural areas. While expanding the
coverage area, we have also included air and sea transportation
service in the healthcare system. The expansion of our service to
people covered different areas ranging from hamlets of Hakkari
to the uplands of Trabzon, villages of Edirne, steppes of Yozgat
and lowland of Adana. Simultaneously, we have served people
who needed urgent service including people in Afghanistan and
Somali, earthquake victims in Haiti, and victims of tsunami in
Indonesia.
The policy of family doctor (primary care physician), an
indispensible part of modern healthcare system, has begun
to be implemented and the system has become generalized
countrywide.
The indexes of indicators in contagious diseases have been
improved to the levels developed countries.
While doing all these service, we have implemented a national
plan for raising awareness against smoking and obesity
negatively influencing quality of life.
Disadvantaged areas lacking adequate medical personal,
basic facilities and equipment have been our priority since the
beginning and we managed to close the gap between different
regions. In our 10 years, we have added 7 million square meters

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to the areas of basic medical facilities/institutions comparing


to the 7 million square meters established in the last 80 years
before AK Partys governments. All of the new facilities
constructed in our terms have at least one or two bed separate
rooms having the basic services.
The number of people serving in the public healthcare institutions
has been doubled.
While all these, we have been careful to use the public sources
effectively with the Healthcare Transformation Plan. The great
transformation has been realized with a sustainable financial
system. Despite this tremendous transformation, the increase in
public spending on health was less than general public spending.
While the increase in public spending in general was 265%
between the years of 20032011, public spending on health was
225%. In other words, we have established a sustainable health
system.
In the last decade, despite the increase in the individual expenses
for healthcare, the burden on the individual has been reduced to
a minimal level.
This is why the satisfaction ratio from healthcare system rose
from 39% in 2003 to 76 % in 2011.
Now, our task is to build large city hospitals. While beginning
to realize the task, we begin to implement Integrated Public
Hospital system, increasing the quality of the healthcare system.
Our success story in the Healthcare Transformation Plan caught
an international attention and we began to share our experience
with other countries. Several organizations including WHO and
OECD refer to our improvements in the healthcare system as an
exemplary success.
As of today, Turkey, with her Transformation Plan is an agenda
setting example in the global context. Turkey has become a
pioneering example in the healthcare discussions with her goal
and success in serving people.

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Education and Culture


Our young and dynamic population is one of the most important
sources and precious values for us.
Since the beginning, increasing the level and quality of education
has become our constant aim. We have managed to achieve
great success in the education system both in terms of physical
and technological infrastructure.
It has become a tough and a difficult process to increase the
coverage of compulsory education to 12 years for AK Party. All
of the obstacles preventing equality of opportunities in education
have been removed and we will continue to do so.
In 2023, at the Centennial of the Republic, we aim to reach 100 %
literacy rate for people under 50, enable all young population to
have at least high school education and give a chance to all those
who like to have a higher education.
We dream and work for having more than 200 universities
in 2023, resolving all bureaucratic hurdles preventing the
establishment of private universities, and boosting the R&D
budget to the levels of developed countries. This is why we
prefer to turn the Higher Education Council, the main institution
overseeing the governance of universities, into a coordinator
rather than governor in the new constituent.
Turkey and our people deserve to have an educated, healthy and
competitive young generation with strong ideals for the future.
Motivating our young population to participate further in the
social, cultural and sport events is a task to be realized by the
joint and coordinated work amongst our municipalities and
related ministries.
A chance to have lifelong education has become an
indispensable part of our modern life. We dream to have a
society, with its all levels, making education an integral part of
her life.

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We know that the most precious source and wealth of countries


is not material, underground sources or industrial investments.
What matters is the production of knowledge, education for such
knowledge and the use of this knowledge for innovating and
exporting technology.
Our task has been to maintain a system in which the basic
requirements of our age are met.
While aiming at raising the standards, it must be noted that we
have been careful to comb out all of the discriminatory themes
implying negative, stereotypical images and perceptions in the
textbooks. We will continue to do so. Elements with negative
and discriminatory perceptions, breaching human rights and
universal rule of law will be erased form our national education
system.
AK Party is a conservative democratic party. Our conservative
stance is not the protection of the status quo but of conserving
perennial, productive values. For us, the conservative approach is
a pioneering element of the transformation and reform process
in Turkey. It is to reformulate our values, social and cultural
principles that made us and give us our own identity, in a way that
could respond the needs of our time.
We see culture as a foundation on which the individual, society,
the future and civilization are all founded.
Our perspective is to have a society founded on our culture and
values that combines tradition and modernity, the local and the
global, the old and the new.
Culture for us is a foundational element that characterizes
human life. In this context, we will support all activities
strengthening our cultural values, improve cultural sources to
empower personal life and social practices.
We will continue to support enhancing the different shades and
colors of our pluralist culture.

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Elevating Turkey to the list of topten countries in the world


requires us to make Turkey a center of cultural production,
distribution and sharing center both in her region and in the
world. We will continue to deepen the quality of activities
promoting our cultural legacy, tradition, arts and artist,
intellectual heritage, major figures and their works.
In the centennial anniversary of our Republic, Turkey will reach a
point where our cultural and social values will be reproduced and
transmitted to future generations successfully.
With a confidence founded upon our values, our citizens will see
the world as a sphere of cultural exchange, source of knowledge
and business activity.

Economy
Our government has been monitoring the changes in the world
economy closely since the beginning and all of our assessments
have been made on the basis of realistic assessments. In a
decade, we transformed Turkey into a confident, competitive
country where the rule of law helps economic stability. A
sustainable economic development is possible only with a
strong democracy, rule of law based on universal principles and
competitive production system.
As with other spheres, we have managed to realize a tremendous
transformation in the economy.
The center of our focus in the economy has been the individual
and improving his condition. Rather than adopting a strictly
centralized developmental model, we gave priority to establish a
productive environment in which the entrepreneurs and workers
can realize their potential. The state has acted as a facilitator
rather than a force preventing creativity and development.

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We have not treated economy as completely independent from


social and political spheres nor reduced it into to markets daily
fluctuations. Maintaining a strong democracy based on rule of
law and a strong economy is like the two side of the coin. We
acted with a vision that it is not possible to maintain a strong
democratic transformation without a strong economy. Likewise,
we believe it would not be possible to have a strong and viable
economic system without a strong democracy based on the rule
of law.
Our population, which was 66 million when we came to power,
has reached 75 million. Between the years of 20022011, our
Gross Domestic Product has increased from 230 billion dollars
to 774 billion dollars while our income per capita has increased
from $3500 to $10,000. While we have worked to increase our
income per capita by three fold despite our increasing population,
we have found our inspiration in our people.
The most fundamental concept that undergirds AK Partys
economic policies and conception of governance is trust. The
most important source of our historical achievements is the trust
and stability we have achieved.
While the interest Turkey paid in 2002 made up 15.5% of its
GDP, in 2011 this rate was reduced to 3.4%. Had this rate not
been reduced, in 2011 the amount paid to interest would reach
$120 billion annually. In 2011, what we paid in interest was
approximately $25 billion. The difference between $120 billion
and $25 billion is the difference of trust and stability. The funds
wasted in the past are now allocated to social services.
We decreased our budget deficit by maintaining fiscal discipline.
Public sector net debt, which hangs like Democles sword over
many EU countries today, made up 74% of our GDP in 2002. As of
2011, we reduced this rate to 39.4%.

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We have restored the much deserved prestige of Turkish Lira by


removing six zeros while reducing inflation to single digits.
We managed to log in more capital than what our economy
needed from foreign sources. The foreign exchange reserves
increased from $28 billion in November 2002 to $110 billion
(including gold) as of September 14, 2012.
We provided relief both to our consumers and producers with tax
breaks.
While the capital investments by the private sector constituted
$28 billion in 2002, it was $140 billion in 2011. The investments
the private sector made due to stable political and economic
environment manifest itself as import/export, production but
most importantly as employment.
We are successfully implementing both those active workforce
policies aimed at giving the unemployed vocational training thus
increasing employment and policies aimed at protecting those
who are unemployed. While the number of the unemployed that
benefited from the active workforce programs in 2002 was 1,500,
in 2011 those who benefited from this program reached 250,000
people.
Our achievements in employment are just as important socially
as they are economically. Despite the ongoing global crisis,
we were able to provide employment for 1,317,000 people in
2010 and 1,516,000 people in 2011. In this way, we reduced the
unemployment rate to single digits. While the unemployment
almost reached double digits in Europe even without an increase
in population, Turkish economy is continuing to produce
employment.
While we were increasing employment we also gave a battle
against unregistered employment. With the precautions we have
taken, the number of registered employment has increased from
10.2 million in 2002 to 15.2 million in 2011.

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The success of our reforms carried out between 2003 and 2007
was tested with the global crisis. Our economy passed this test
with flying colors.
We have managed the global crisis with our own resources
without requesting bailout funds from international organizations
such as the IMF. Not one of our banks went under. We did not fall
into the vicious circle of debt and interest. We did not experience
financial turbulence. As a rising economic power in the face of a
global crisis, we found our confidence again. We have become a
country that holds a guiding light to others that shares its positive
experiences and holds its head up in all international platforms
including the G20.
We have paid off almost all of our debt to IMF. We are now at a
position to lend $5 billion to IMF.
We have shown a much envied economic performance with
economic growth rates such as 9.2% in 2010 and 8.5% in 2011.
Our economic growth continues determinedly at a time when
growth rates in Europe are expected to remain at zero and when
global growth rate is predicted to be in the negatives.
We have increased the ratio of public social spending including
education, healthcare and social protection from 13.5% of the
GDP in 2002 to 16.7% of the GDP in 2011. While only 1.3 billion TL
was allocated to social assistance spending previously, we now
allocate almost ten times that number.
Our fight, as AK Party, against poverty is moving forward full
fledged. In the world today there are almost 1 billion people
with an income of less than $1 a day. There is no one in Turkey
today living under such poverty. We have decreased the rate of
those who have less than $2.15 daily income from 3.04% of the
population to 0.2%. During the same time period, the rate of
citizens who lived with $4.3 daily dropped from 30.3 % to 3.7%.

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We have provided a more fair distribution of income. In 2002, the


annual income of the wealthiest 10% of the country was 18.3 times
more than the annual income of the poorest 10%. In 2011, this was
only 12 times more than the poorest 10%. The Gini index has also
dropped from 0.44 in 2002 to 0.40 in 2011.
Today, Turkey is the biggest economy and the most effective
political actor in its region. The achievements of our country are a
source of inspiration for other countries. Without a doubt, Turkeys
importance and influence will increase in our economically and
political restructured world.
Recent transformations in our neighborhood environment are a
sign of continuous interest in our social, political and economic
policies.
The experience of Turkey has become a more valuable experience
in this new era where the government needs to rely on the will of
the public and feel responsive to meet the development demands
of the people. Understanding the sign of times effectively and
implementing necessary basic policies for such a vision, our Party
will support both the democratization and development of these
countries and will serve the vision of strong Turkey.
Relying on our success and confidence in the last decade, we
can say that we have established the essentials of centennial
anniversary of our Republic. Our main task will remain to increase
the welfare of our people with a sustainable and stable growth
performance.
The aim is to have an advanced society with its all modern
standards and a competitive, strong Turkey on a global level.
A great economy will continue to be maintained as part of our
integrated vision and will be put at the service of advanced
democracy with a goal of establishing a strong society. We will all
earn our bread with our own efforts, make it bigger and distribute
it fairly.

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Maintaining confidence and stability in the economy will continue


to be our main principle.
The pioneering force in the high growth rate has been the
private sector and will continue to be so. We, as AK Party, will
continue to pave the way for strong, effective private sector. To
do so, alongside macro economic stability, we will continue to
implement reforms for increasing quality and competitiveness in
goods and service sector.
As much as we value macroeconomy, we will continue to
value microeconomy. Having an efficient economy has been
our aim, and we will continue to work unceasingly for efficient
management in both public and private sector.
In light of this perspective, we have specific aims to realize by the
centennial anniversary of the Republic:
To be among the top ten economies of the world in terms of
the GDP.
To maintain a stable reduction in inflation and keep interest
rates to a single digit.
To increase exports to 500 billion dollars per year.
To increase per capita income to $25.000.
To reach annual GDP of 2 trillion dollar.
To reduce unemployment rate to %5 and to increase the
present employment rate to at least 50 %.
While working to realize these goals, we will not compromise
the basics of our economic plan. Fiscal discipline will be strictly
followed. Fighting against inflation will continue to be a priority
for us. We aim to continue growth enabling further employment
based on real economy and export.
We will continue to support free capital movements and
free trade. Floating exchange rates will continue and we will
implement structural reforms for a more efficient economy.

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While working toward a stronger economy we will continue to


ameliorate regional and social difference in income distribution.
All of our regional development projects such as GAP (Southeast
Anatolia Project), DAP (East Anatolia Project), KOP (Konya
Lowland Project), and DOKAP (East Black Sea Project) will be
implemented. From north to south, from east to west, the quality
of services to our citizens will increase.
The priority we gave to regional development will continue
with new action plans we have been devising for regional
development. Such mechanisms as the New Stimulus Plan,
Development Agencies and Regional Development Managements
alongside other supportive mechanisms will have an integrated
vision and stimulate regional development.

Local Government and


Urban Planning
Humancentered and servicefocused approach has been our
vision of local governance. That is why a real local development
has begun with AK Party.
Our responsibility is to enable the further participation of
our people, direct representation in the local authorities and
democratic supervision of local administration.
We will continue to keep the governance system from excessive
centralization, delegate power from center to local agencies that
provide direct services to the people.
We will continue to take necessary precautions to increase
effectiveness and productivity in public service. Respond to the
needs of our citizens is our utmost priority.
This is why we have been reformulating the Greater Municipality
system so that we can coordinate public services on the local
provincial levels.

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We have quintupled the sources of local municipalities and will


continue to increase their financial capability.
A new bill, characterized by a modern local governing perspective
for rural areas and villages, will be passed at the Parliament.
There is a strong and vital need for urban transformation as
Turkeys 95 % of territory is earthquake area, and the city centers
are under pressure of migration. The necessary technical
bureaucratic backgroundsteps, such as the law no. 6306, have
already been taken.
Our aim is not to destroy homes but to construct them. Our goal
is to shape a physical environment in which the social needs
of our citizens are met. We will build modern, durable and
earthquakeresistant buildings. To realize this huge task, we
have founded a new ministry.
To improve the physicalsocial features of residential areas and
to turn different features of our cities into trademarks is our
priority. We imagine our country as a whole, not distinguishing
between rural vs. urban, developed vs. undeveloped, etc.
While establishing new cities, with highstandard living
conditions, we will continue to protect the historical heritage of
our cities.
It is also our goal to transform our cities and make them friendly
to children, the disabled the elderly and others.
Just as the AK Party governments have implemented the largest
afforestation campaigns, we will continue to increase greening
policies in the city centers.

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THE WORLD

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The World and Our


Foreign Policy Vision
Ten years ago, we set out on a journey with passion and dedicated
ourselves to a noble ideal. That ideal was to make Turkey one of
the key players of global politics and a major actor for regional
peace and stability.
When we spoke of this ideal, some accused us of adventurism
and daydreaming. Some disbelieved us and said we cannot make
Turkey a global player and regional actor when her economy was
in shatters and she had problems with everyone. But we never
hesitated.
Because we believe in a great and strong Turkey. The country
is our love and the nation is our foundation. The Turkish nation
alone is the source of our legitimacy and strength.
As AK Party, our foreign policy mission is to fulfill our historic
responsibility and pass on the trust to future generations and do
so on the basis of our history, culture, civilization and our 2023
Turkey vision.
There will be some inevitable changes in the current global
political and economic system, the UN structure of governance,
and the relations between countries and nations around the
world. Our goal and mission is to place Turkey among those
countries that will shape the new global system.
Our greatest asset on this path is our firm belief in our nation and
the affection and trust which our nation has shown to us.

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As AK Party, we do not consider Turkey and its foreign


policy in a unidimensional way. To the contrary, we apply a
multidimensional and multidirectional perspective to Turkeys
historical depth, civilizational geography and make use of the
political and economic stability of the last ten years under AK
Party.
Turkey is fast becoming a center of attraction and a focal point of
international relations and global politics. We are building a new
global vision in partnership with all political actors that pursue a
positive political agenda in our region as well as in the world.
This new vision has already overcome the misgivings of the past,
given a new confidence to our nation and enabled us to vastly
expand our foreign policy.
As a regional power and global actor, Turkey today is self
confident in all of its endeavors, follows a unique vision, and
operates in its region not with any threat perception but with a
perspective of peace, stability and partnership.
Turkey is not party to any conflicts in its region; rather, it is sought
after for contribution, vision and mediation. With its democratic
standards and economic development, Turkey has become a
token of regional peace and stability.
We believe that Turkey is destined to play a historic and critical
role in its region and the world. We have based our foreign policy
on two main principles. First of all, we have based our policies on
an accurate assessment of regional and global developments,
taken necessary steps in a timely manner, devised our policies
with a longterm perspective, and acted with a sense of
commitment to our values and principles.

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Secondly, we have followed a dynamic foreign policy and


reinterpreted Turkeys history and geography from the vantage
point of our strategic depth in the world. We have executed our
foreign policy by developing our own vision, strategy and ideas.
When we came to power in 2002, we redefined one of the key
principles of Turkish foreign policy as tipping the freedom
security balance to the advantage of individual and societal
freedoms. We gave a major struggle to achieve this.
In this regard, we implemented revolutionary reforms for
Turkeys full membership in the European Union (EU), which we
consider to be our strategic goal. Despite unfair obstacles put
before us, we said we will redefine the Copenhagen Criteria as
Ankara Criteria and move forward. Because we believe in the
EU membership not as an end in itself but as a process by which
our nation will achieve the universal standards of democracy that
our people deserve.
Today, full membership in the EU remains our strategic goal for
our 2023 Vision. We are determined to fulfill our responsibilities
despite the unjustified bumps on the road.
We consider our relationship with the United States of America
and NATO based on equality and equal partnership. Like with
other countries, we will continue to strengthen our partnership
with the US on the basis of mutual interest and partnership.
Today, no one can impose its own agenda on Turkey; rather,
everyone seeks Turkeys partnership to set a common agenda.

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Global Activism
One of the primary goals of AK Party Governments over the
last ten years has been to improve Turkeys standing in the
international order and increase its prestige, visibility and
activism.
As a result of a proactive foreign policy made possible by
democratization and economic performance, Turkeys image has
completely changed in the region and the world.
Turkey is now seen as a source of inspiration from Morocco to
Afghanistan. Turkey has become a major player that contributes
to peace and stability in its region and the global order.
Ten years ago, Turkeys participation in international
organizations and meetings was a matter of no importance.
Today, Turkeys presence is felt in every major forum, meeting
and summit, and Turkey is effectively represented in all of the
major multinational organizations.
In 2002, the total number of Turkeys diplomatic missions around
the world was 163; today we have 202 diplomatic missions. This
number will soon reach 219. Turkey is represented through its
diplomatic missions from Tanzania and Ecuador to Myanmar and
Colombia. We will soon become the fifth country in the world in
terms of the highest number of diplomatic missions.
One of our key objectives has been to develop relations with
our neighbors and strengthen our role from the Balkans and
Caucasia to Central Asia and the Middle East. To that effect, we
have introduced a new paradigm and left behind the old habits
of foreign policy and international relations based on security
threats. We have followed the wellknown policies of zero
problems with neighbors, security for everyone, economic
integration, and multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence.
And we have reaped the benefits in a short period of time.

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We have taken many steps to improve relations with our


neighbors, to solve inherited, chronic problems and to establish
peace and security in our region. We have established the High
Strategic Cooperation Council mechanism with such countries as
Bulgaria, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran.
We also made an agreement with Georgia to allow our citizens to
visit our countries with their IDs rather than passports.
Starting with our immediate neighbors, we have lifted the visas.
By 2012, the number of countries with which we have lifted visas
mutually has exceeded seventy. We will continue to work on
introducing a visafree regime for Turkish citizens to travel to EU
countries.
We have worked tirelessly to help the national process of
reconciliation in such countries as Iraq, Somalia, Palestine,
Lebanon and Kirgizstan.
Turkeys international humanitarian aid is reaching today a vast
geography. It is enough to remember Somali alone. Our nation
has opened its heart to the people of Somalia and run a major aid
campaign. Today, a new period has begun in Somalia.
Our voice is being heard in places where global consciousness
has kept silent. We raised the suffering and persecution of
Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine region of Myanmar and will
continue to do so to find a peaceful and longterm solution.
Energy is another important component of our foreign policy.
While energy has become a source of tension and conflict, we
see it as an instrument of peace. Our energy policy complements
our comprehensive and proactive foreign policy and helps us
develop a common agenda with our neighbors. Regardless of
political relations, we give utmost importance to energy policies
with other countries. As Turkeys political and economic stability
deepens, her weight in the field of energy is also increasing.

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A New Conception of
Geography
Our strategic depth and proactivism in foreign policy is not
limited to the Middle East region. From the Balkans and
Caucasus to Africa and Central Asia, we see all countries as
potential partners with which we can build a better future. Those
countries also have a strong desire and strategic outlook to have
partnership with Turkey.
The reason for this is our ability to make use of our historical
heritage, translate it into the context of todays global politics and
deepen mutual understanding and partnership through concrete
projects.
Likewise, we have deepened our political, economic and cultural
relations with those countries in the Caucasus and Central
Asia with which we have a special bond of religion, language
and culture. To develop a future vision, we have established the
Turkish Cooperation Council. We will continue to be an active
player in these regions of the world with the same outlook and
determination.
Starting with Central Asia, we have established highlevel
relations with all of the Turkish Republics. We have launched
major initiative in Africa. Our Africa opening, which began ten
years ago, has today become one of the cornerstones of our
global foreign policy.

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Global Peace
The Alliance of Civilizations Initiative, which we launched
together with Spain in 2004, has become the largest international
organizations in terms of its members after the UN. The Alliance
is gaining strength everyday as a global platform for the peaceful
coexistence of different cultures and civilizations. Turkeys
leading role in this area and the Alliance will continue unabated.
As we saw in the cartoon crisis several years ago and now
with the reprehensible film about our beloved Prophet, there
is an urgent need for an international initiative and joint effort
to fight against the rising tide of Islamophobia and to establish
peace and harmony between different cultures and civilizations.
Islamophobia is a very dangerous trend that poisons relations
between Islamic and Western societies. Just like antiSemitism,
Islamophobia is a form of racism and a crime against humanity.
In this regard, we began a comprehensive initiative to classify
Islamophobia as a hate crime and will pursue it to the end.

European Union
We accept the European Union project as a success story. After
decades of great wars and conflicts, a project like the EU to unify
all European nations could have been possible only with a grand
vision for the future. Today, people refer to the EU project when
they talk about peace, solidarity and economic development in
other parts of the world.
It is AK Party that has put for the first time Turkeys 50year old
checkered relationship with the EU in a comprehensive strategic
context and made it part of its strategic outlook. AK Party has
taken concrete steps to realize the EU vision in tandem with
Turkeys needs and priorities.

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Legal reforms and new regulations have been passed as part


of the EUs acquis communautaire and they have raised ad
strengthened Turkeys democratic standards.
AK Partys strategic goal is full membership in the EU. We will
not accept any option other than full membership. Despite the
obstacles originating from the EU itself, our political will and
determination which we demonstrated in 2005 for negotiations
remains strong and will not change.
Over the last seven years since we started accession talks, we
have taken bold and realistic steps. We expect the same from
the EU, i.e., to act with the vision and leadership that created the
EU. It is a contradiction of EUs own principles to make Turkey an
instrument of European domestic politics. This attitude creates a
sense of mistrust and suspicion in the Turkish public. EU leaders
should show courage and leadership and the negotiations should
move forward.

The Arab Revolutions


Our brothers and sisters in the Arab world have taken a brave
and revolutionary step and got rid of their dictators. They
established the will of the people as the basis of politics. By doing
so, they changed the course of history.
Their revolutions have not only redefined politics on the basis of
the will of the people but also overcome centuriesold prejudices
against the Middle Eastern people. They have shown to the world
that no system can survive on injustice and oppression.
Bou Azizis burnt body, Tahrirs voice, Libyas fire and the demand
for freedom, justice and dignity have destroyed the old mindsets,
outlooks and vocabularies. The Arab youth, the trailblazers of
the Arab revolutions, have changed the course of history and

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opened up a new horizon for the world. The world has once again
remembered the importance of dignity, selfesteem and belief in
freedom.
At this critical juncture in the modern history of the Middle East,
AK Party has stodd with the people against the status quo and
oppression and supported the peoples legitimate demands for
change.
Three principles have guided our approach to the Arab
revolutions:
Change in our region is inevitable. No regime that
oppresses and kills its own people and excludes the vast
majority of the people from political participation can have a
chance to survive.
This process of change must take place peacefully and with
national consensus.
Both the transition period and the postrevolutionary
phase should include all members of the society without
discrimination and exclusion.
The first principle refers to the need for change, the second to the
will of the people, and the third to pluralist and inclusive politics.
It goes without saying that each country has its own specific
circumstances and they should be taken into account.
AK Party pursued a dynamic politics in this historic period. We
implemented our principles while taking into account the new
emerged dynamics and factors.
What we said in Tunisia, we said the same thing in Egypt. We
upheld the same position in Libya and supported the peoples
legitimate demands for change. Today, we uphold the same
principle in regards to Syria. We firmly believe that the Syrian
people deserve justice, freedom, dignity and prosperity as much
as others.

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When the events started in Syria, we urged the regime to


carry out serious reforms and establish national dialogue and
consensus. We made every effort for a peaceful transition by
holding special meetings, telephone diplomacy and through
special envoys. But instead of listening to its peoples demands
and working for peaceful change, the Syrian regime chose to kill
its own people.
Against the Syrian regimes brutal policies of killing, collective
punishment and political games, Turkey took a clear stance in
solidarity with the people of Syria. We opened our borders to
thousands of refugees fleeing their country. As a human and
moral responsibility, we have accepted our Syrian brothers and
sisters into our country and will continue to do so until the Syrian
conflict is resolved.
We attach utmost importance to Syrias territorial integrity,
political sovereignty and societal harmony. Like in the rest of the
Middle East, all members of Syrian society are equal regardless
of their religion, sect or ethnicity. They are our brothers and
sisters. As an honest friend and neighbor, Turkey will continue to
work for a free, fair, democratic and prosperous Syria.
AK Partys foreign policy is based on pursuing a positive agenda
without precondition and prejudice. We reject any sort of
prejudice against any nation and any country. We have no quarrel
with any nation, country or group of people and we believe we can
solve our political differences through dialogue and diplomacy.
We reject policies that advocate division and tension in our region.
No one has a right to exclude any country from regional political
order.
We firmly reject those approaches that seek to turn differences in
the Muslim world into a source of conflict and war.
We see the recent events in our region as a process of
normalization. Turkey is making peace with its own history
and geography. As a result, our relations with the peoples and
countries in the region are also becoming normal again.

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This is part of a larger process of normalization of the social and


political dynamics of the AfroEuroAsian landmass. Needless to
say, Turkey is at the center of this process.
Everyone will benefit from normalization and the spread of
justice. No one should be afraid of the tectonic changes taking
place in the larger region. Our Middle East vision is based on
a winwin philosophy and a policy of mutual empowerment
whereby everyone wins. Our goal is to establish justice, equality
and democracy as a principle of politics and diplomacy.
AK Party will continue to embrace all the peoples and colors of
the Middle East and beyond regardless of their religion, sect,
ethnicity, language and culture. We will continue to treat them as
our equals and as our brothers and sisters. Unityindiversity
remains our guiding principle. We will continue to strive to make
the Middle East and North Africa a land of peace, stability, wealth,
creativity, high culture and civilization.

Cyprus
Our policy on Cyprus has been clear all along. Turkey and the
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have done their part to
bring peace and stability to the island. They have supported and
voted for the UN Annan Plan in 2004. But the UN and the EU
have failed to fulfill their responsibilities and abandoned Turkish
Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots have been rewarded despite their
rejection of the UN plan.
We call for a fair solution that will be acceptable to all sides. Our
conditions for negotiations are wellknown. We will continue to
stand by them.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is in the process of
establishing a strong political system as a sovereign state. Its

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economy and social infrastructure are getting stronger. It is


becoming a major center of attraction in higher education. Its
economy is becoming less statist and more free market oriented.
Last year, the Turkish Cypriots passed a number of important
legal reforms. They made major strides in tourism. These social
and economic policies have made them stronger. As Turkey, we
will continue to support the Turkish Cypriots.
We continue to provide financial aid to Cyprus. The new economic
program of the last three years has increased investment and
helped boost development. The new 3year economic program
will soon be ready.
We are working to transport water from Turkey to the island
thought underthesea canals. The work for building two dams
on both sides and the construction of the underwater canals is
almost completed. These projects will be completed in March
2014. This project will also enable us to send electricity to the
island. All of these will make Northern Cyprus stronger.
We attach utmost importance to the sensitivities of Turkey and
Northern Cyprus in regards to the continental shell around the
island. We will continue our oil and gas exploration work.
Our goal in all of these efforts is to make Northern Cyprus strong
and selfsufficient and the Turkish Cypriots achieve peace and
stability.

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National Defense
One of the requirements of our vision to become a regional leader
and global player is to make our military defense system more
efficient, deterrent and modern. Our national defense industry
needs to further develop so that our armed forces can maximize
its military capabilities.
Our defense industry has vastly expanded under AK Party
governments. Gone is the time when Turkey was unable to
manufacture even a simple rifle; today, we are capable of
producing our own tanks.
We have established the infrastructure for a national tank called
ALTAY. We have also begun test flights for our nationally
produced UVs called ANKA that can go up to 10 thousand
meters and stay on the air for 24 hours.
Part of our 2023 Turkey Vision is to be able to manufacture our
major defense needs by ourselves.

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