Despite the tension prevailing in politics, the resolution of historic matters in Turkey continues without a break. The 10-article program determined by the PKK's imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, and his call for the PKK to gather in an assembly to discuss disarmament, indicates a new and historic phase in the process. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) also supports this call. The delegation's spokesman Sırrı Süreyya Önder said: "Doubtlessly, a solidified cease-fire is crucial for the implementation of the expected historic developments in all aspects," emphasizing that fighting for democracy would not be sincere without giving up arms and violent activity. Now the democratic fight must replace the armed struggle.
The government has already been negotiating the requirement in order to achieve disarmament as soon as possible. This call is being made on the eve of the general elections, which means it is not sacrificed to populist policies. If a step that would favor the whole of Turkey is about to be taken, it is hard to assert that the motivation behind this step is a concern for votes.
Some of the subjects of these 10 articles are as follows:
Redefining relations between regions and the center, reinforcing regional democracy
Placing the principle of equal citizenship at the center of the constitutional operation, both legally and politically
Redesigning relations between the state and society in a democratic way and basing politics on participation
Negotiating the socio-economic dimension of the Kurdish issue, since it is difficult to mention a resolution in any real sense without discussing the traumas, sufferings, economic losses and similar problems created by the nearly 40-year conflict.
Negotiating the subjects of women, culture and ecology in socio-cultural and legal terms
Redesigning the Republic on the grounds of democratic participation and according to the principles of common land and common nation.
Realizing all these is possible with a new constitutional order. Therefore, the emphasis on a new constitution in the last article is consistent and significant. As the government supports this announcement, the route to be followed from now on should focus on a new constitution. As the statements issued for months by Justice and Development Party (AK Party) authorities are considered, it appears more evident that the declaration will place an emphasis on a new and powerful constitution on the eve of general elections. While the most critical social and political issue in Turkey is about to be resolved, the right questions are being asked, and correct and sincere answers are being given.
The question is: how can a permanent social and political peace be provided? The first answer is disarmament and the second is forming a new constitutional order based on a new paradigm. We must accept that the work on the constitution conducted in Turkey till now has not addressed the right social or political questions. It did not question the militarist, ethno-centric, strictly centralist and exclusionist constitutional order, but instead focused on the problems the constitution created in practical terms. The paradigm itself was not questioned. Therefore, the work on the constitution that was initiated with goodwill entered into a strange, vicious cycle of recreating the former constitutional order once again. This point also explains the failure of the works conducted after 2011.
At this point, nearly all the political parties have started to think that the formation of a new constitution is essential on the grounds of a new social contract. Now it is not possible to deny the fact that the general democratization problems in Turkey, along with the Kurdish issue, can be resolved with the introduction of a new constitutional order based on a new paradigm. Since Turkey has started to ask the right questions, it is now counting the days until it gives the right answers.
About the author
Osman Can is a Law Professor and Reporting Judge at the Turkish Constitutional Court. He holds a PhD from the University of Cologne, Germany.