Parties agree for consensus in drafting Turkish constitution
by Merve Aydoğan
ANKARAFeb 13, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Feb 13, 2016 12:00 am
The parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Committee held its second meeting on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman. The representatives from the four political parties agreed to take decisions through reaching consensus. The first meeting was held on Feb. 4, the third meeting is to be held next week on Feb. 16 when the committee will determine its working period, method and principals. Due to the precedent set during the previous commission, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) administration has suggested a six-month time limit for the meetings to avoid deadlock.
However, during the meeting on Wednesday, the AK Party representatives suggested June 30 to be the limit for the talks while Kahraman suggested that the talks continue until Oct. 1.
The current Constitution was drafted after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, and creates impediments to many legislative regulations. Because of that the political parties had already agreed on 60 articles for a new constitution in a previous iteration of the committee during the 24th legislative session. According to sources, Kahraman has told the party members that he is hopeful for the talks. Each political party's deputies take turns expressing their opinions on the constitution. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have insisted on keeping the first articles of the current Constitution as their red lines. In response to the opposition's demand, the AK Party deputy representatives have suggested to not interfere with its nature, but rather apply amendments to some parts and wording. As the political parties are yet to reach a joint agreement, the committee members have agreed to reach consensus for all decisions to be taken during the meetings.
Concerning the determination of the road map, the MHP representatives have asked to begin with discussing the articles concerning basic rights and freedoms and the CHP representatives have said that the articles that are the most difficult must be addressed first. Kahraman said that the 60 articles whose amendments were previously agreed to are now outdated.
Thee duration of the committee continues to top the agenda for all parties as the CHP representatives have urged for the period to be unlimited while the MHP representatives have said that the committee should continue its work until the end of 2016. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) representatives suggested that the committee's working period should be one year.
Speaking to members of the media following the meeting, AK Party Deputy Abdulhamit Gül said that the road map will be determined through suggestions provided from all four parties. Responding to a question about whether a presidential system would be suggested to committee members, Gül said: "We will suggest it during the meetings. We believe a presidential system will pave the way for Turkey['s future] and will suit Turkey's vision." Gül also said that the AK Party believes six months is enough time to form a new constitution. CHP Deputy Bülent Tezcan also made comments to the media in which he stressed that the CHP believes it is mandatory for Turkey to eliminate the laws made following the 1980 coup.
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