With great honor and pride, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the much-anticipated democratization package on September 30. With the support of our people, we have passed another threshold that is essential for Turkey's democratic progress and perfection.
The package date, 30 September 2013, has already emerged as one of Turkey's most critical milestones towards becoming an advanced democracy. Thanks to our government's determination, one of the most courageous and comprehensive reform packages in the history of the Republic of Turkey is now annexed to our democracy.
As happened previously, our government has concentrated on implementing reforms, and once again upheld democracy and reforms above all else.
The AK Party's founding philosophy and the party's program have been a mirror reflecting its keen perspective of democratization. The Party program is the most comprehensive manifesto for democratization in the history of the Turkish Republic. Since November 3rd 2002, the electorate has favored the AK Party in three general elections, two local elections, and two referenda. This overwhelming endorsement is because of the AK Party's steadfast adherence to this democratization program. In the last eleven years, parliament has legislated about 2000 laws in accordance with the EU acquis. With yet another referendum on 12 September 2010, and through the wide consent of the people, we have introduced a package of constitutional amendments that profoundly emboldened the spirit of this reformist wind. This latest package, as a whole, should be seen as yet another proof that we are keeping our promise to our people in accordance with the AK Party's program. The latest reform package is a reflection of our determination for an advanced democracy.
Even among the EU member states today, no other government can keep up with the pace of reforms being carried out by the AK Party. Turkey has repeatedly established itself as the most reformist country in Europe.
The latest reform package sets up the groundwork towards solving Turkey's long-standing issues. With these steps, Turkey will override the obstacles towards its well deserved place among the advanced nations. As of 30 September 2013, Turkey's democratic standards have climbed several levels. Turkey is now closer to achieving its objective of becoming an advanced democracy
This package has been prepared in accordance with the EU acquis and is in line with practices of modern democracies. It is one of the most solid indicators of Turkey's determination for reforms. Our government has once again refuted those at home and abroad who doubted our determination for reforms. Negative propaganda, cynicism, scorn and divisive antagonisms all dissolve under the light of this historic manifesto.
Turkey has once again proven that it continues its path towards top-grade EU standards and beyond. We believe that the package will accelerate Turkey's EU accession process. This package is a reflection of Turkey's determination.
We believe that implementing the reform package will be as important as opening chapters in the EU negotiations.
We hope that the latest democracy package and the government's determination for reform will be reflected positively in the upcoming 2013 EU Progress Report. This is a very reasonable and understandable expectation.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emphasized that this package is neither the first nor be the last. It is simply another step towards Turkey's 2023 program targets, which overall aim the highest grade for the country. The manifest reflects the government's perspective and its desire to firmly establish advanced democratic standards. Amendments in this package should never be viewed as concessions.
Implementing reforms and ensuring transformation is only meaningful when sustainable. Our government has assured that this notion will endure in Turkey.
Our perspective of reform, higher democracy and transformation will continue with the same determination, as has been in the last eleven years. We responded to our nation's aspirations.
Furthermore, this package is inclusive and addresses the issues and grievances of the widest segments of the society. It is not sectarian, but it unifies. It is also egalitarian.
The democratization package provides Turkey with the remedies that will heal many wounds. It is comprised of measures that are not only legislative but also practical and structural arrangements and reforms that are revolutionary, embracing all 76 million citizens.
Barriers towards a full-fledged Turkish democracy and freedoms have now been torn down.
The democratization package is not only a manifesto of freedom and advanced democracy, but it is also a "Manifesto for Brotherhood" that strengthens social integration and reinforces the climate of peace and tranquility in Turkey.
The package will also clean-up and discard the webs of intrigues woven by circles that have abused and exploited certain issues over the years.
It is regrettable that minutes after the package was announced by Prime Minister, some in no time voiced outright dogmatic objections. Obviously these biased critics have chosen to do so without bothering to read and understand this package. Meanwhile, a majority of the nation is pleased with the contents of the package and all are enthusiastic.
Now we have crossed a critical threshold for our democracy and our EU accession process. Turkey is at a new beginning and on its journey towards an even brighter future -- it is proudly distancing away from the shackles of the past.