Following the disappointment of the Constitution Conciliation Committee that included all four parties in Parliament, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is now readying to form its own committee to prepare a draft constitution, the prime minister and AK Party chairman, Ahmet Davutoğlu, said Wednesday. "We will begin writing a constitution draft next week taking into consideration our draft that we had previously proposed after setting up a committee of technical and political representatives," Davutoğlu said at a meeting at AK Party headquarters. Explaining that his party aims to submit a constitution draft that would meet the people of Turkey's dreams, he said the committee will complete its work by the end of April at the latest. "At the end of this process, we will have completed our own constitution proposal in a month or two at the latest, God willing," he said, adding that he will join the committee as well. Even though the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had pledged to not become the first party to leave the Constitution Conciliation Committee, the party walked out of the committee during its third meeting on Feb. 16 over debate on a presidential system. Members of the CHP had reportedly left the table as the AK Party delegation wes discussing introducing a presidential system.
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Feb. 29 declined an invitation by Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman who urged the party to return to the committee without putting forward any preconditions.
Kılıçdaroğlu said in his reply letter to Kahraman: "We will not be a part of work opening the door to a [presidential system]. A consensus on the parliamentary system needs to be endorsed."
CHP Vice Chairman Bülent Tezcan confirmed receiving the letter, telling journalists at Parliament: "The letter does not have content meeting our request. It seems that he is calling us back as if nothing has happened. A call saying: 'Give up on your insistence and come back.' "
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli also commented on the debate. Having received a letter from Kahraman, Bahçeli said: "The MHP will continue constructive efforts and contributions in the Constitutional Conciliation Committee, which consists of four parties, and you must convince the CHP," Bahçeli said in a letter addressed to Kahraman.
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.
Due to the precedent set during the previous commission, the AK Party administration had set a six-month time limit for the meetings to avoid deadlock. The AK Party administration had indicated recently that opposition parties should not have redlines for the talks and that they should leave their biases out of the meetings.
Chaired by Kahraman, the 12-membered commission had Deputy Cemil Çiçek, Parliament Justice Commission Chairman Ahmet İyimaya and Secretary-General Abdulhamit Gül from the AK Party, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was represented by Vice Chairman Bülent Tezcan, Muğla Deputy Ömer Sulha Aldan and Balıkesir Deputy Namık Havutça, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was represented by Deputies Oktay Öztürk Mehmet Parsak and Kadir Koçdemir and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was represented by Deputies Mithat Sancar, Garo Paylan and Meral Danış Beştaş.
OPPOSITION 'CHECKMATED' WITH PROPOSAL FOR IMMUNITIES
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu commented on the recent issue of lifting parliamentary immunity, accusing the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) of attempting to entrap the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) by proposing to bring all summary proceedings to the agenda in Parliament. "We called their bluff to expose the backstory of these games," he said, adding that the opposition had been "checkmated" with this move.
"We proposed to discuss all summary proceedings transferred to Parliament. Thereby we showed this: There is no file the AK Party is afraid of or abstains from. Should there be one, we know well how to deal with it," he added.
CHP deputy chairman and party spokeswoman Selin Sayek Böke announced yesterday that her party would submit the details of their proposal for the lifting of immunity to the AK Party group. After CHP Group Deputy Chairman Engin Altay submitted the proposal, the AK Party's Group Deputy Chairman Naci Bostancı said "I see the CHP's proposal as negotiable."
Davutoğlu last week proposed that Parliament lift the immunity from prosecution for all lawmakers and collectively review the 506 outstanding dossiers. Parliament must look at the dossiers in one session in order to prevent delays to legislation required by the European Union to aquire visa liberalization for the Schengen area, Davutoğlu told a business group on a live broadcast. With the dossiers waiting at the Justice Ministry and Prime Ministry, the number of motions in Parliament is expected to reach 550.
As of last week, there were 43 deputies from the main opposition CHP facing the lifting of their immunity. This number is at 41 for the pro-Kurdish HDP, 22 for the ruling AK Party and six for the MHP. Many deputies have multiple cases.
"If there are people who visit some terrorist's funerals in such an environment, then they will have to account for that. There could be no political party in any part of the world that goes to the funeral of a terrorist," Davutoğlu said, referring to HDP Deputy Tuğba Hezer who visited the home of Abulbaki Sömer, the perpetrator of last month's car bombing in Ankara.
MHP Group Deputy Chairman Oktay Vural said his party is in favor of lifting the immunities of all deputies except for those at the podium.