After working to accelarate drafting a new constitution with the consent of opposition parties, PM Davutoğlu revealed the AK Party members for the Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission during his visit to London
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has revealed the members nominated to the Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on his visit to London Tuesday.
Speaking to members of the press during his London trip, Davutoğlu said that the commission members from the AK Party will include former Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Ankara deputy and Parliament Justice Commission member Ahmet İyimaya and Gaziantep deputy Abdülhamit Gül.
Prime Minister Davutoğlu recently said the AK Party would not shy away from establishing a new constitution. While he criticized the opposition parties for manipulating the constitution talks as if they were aimed at establishing a presidential system, he added: "It is very saddening to see the opposition parties trying to twist the constitutional talks into debates on presidential systems and, thus, creating polemics. The AK Party has often mentioned the necessity of a presidential system for Turkey. However, we see the aims [being made] to create disputes over a potential presidential system by making it about the president as a way of sabotaging the actual matter. We cannot accept any policy that is based on harming the president." Davutoğlu addressed the opposition parties further, emphasizing that politics must seek to discuss issues and not create them.
Earlier in the month, Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman called for the establishment of a committee to draft a new Turkish constitution to replace the 34-year-old Turkish Constitution, written at a time when Turkey was under the rule of a military tutelage.
In 2013, Turkey's parliamentary parties formed a commission to revise the constitution which had been introduced in 1982, following a military coup led by General Kenan Evren, who seized power in 1980. The commission reached an agreement on only 60 articles before it was disbanded.
Speaking at a live television broadcast, Davutoğlu said that there is a misperception in Turkey, which dictates political parties as enemies, and obliges political leaders to use harsh language against each other. "Me and CHP chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu are political opponents, not enemies" Davutoğlu said, and added that political opponents must criticize each other in a civilized manner whereby necessary, support one another and not be afraid to say 'you are right' at times, and must not see each other as enemies.
The prime minister said that it was important for the new constitution to be based on a 'timeless spirit,' which would not be limited to the current conjuncture.
"So let us not personalize the constitution" he said, adding that the constitution should be made in such a way that it will still be compatible after 40 years, and underscored that both parties are in favor of a new, more democratic constitution.
Davutoğlu defined the anticipated constitution as one with no limitations on basic rights and freedoms, which prevents monopolization of power in a single actor. He said that such constitution would recognize the people as the only legitimate source of power, and that no mechanism without the approval of the people would gain legitimacy.
"The state should not define us, we [the citizens] should define the state" Davutoğlu said, highlighting the importance of discussing a new system of governance in Turkey, while he urged everyone to 'put their taboos aside' regarding the presidential system and discuss the 'right one.'
He said that the presidential system is more suitable for checks and balances, and that the prime minister has more power in the parliamentarian system.
Davutoğlu continued by saying that it is necessary for the Parliament Constitution Conciliation Commission to continue their work, from where it was left off, and that everyone, -including political parties, and the people- must take on responsibility.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has proposed broad-based public participation in deciding on a new constitution and Turkey's potential shift to a presidential system. His remarks came amid Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's talks with the opposition parties. "A search conference will help lay the groundwork towards drafting a constitution on which a full societal agreement can be reached," he said.
Erdoğan described the "search conference" as "a kind of public survey" that could involve Turkish citizens on a large scale, proposing "not small numbers like 500,000, but by increasing the numbers much further".
In a 1995 article, Robert Rehm and Nancy Cebula define the search conference as a "participative planning method that enables people to create a plan for the most desirable future of their community or organization, a plan they take responsibility for carrying out themselves". They add that the term was first used in 1959 by Fred Emery and Eric Trist, who introduced it to merge two aircraft engine manufacturers in Great Britain.
"The issue is to avoid having a presidential system that has a structure or character that will cause practical annoyances for the public. As long as you uphold justice in practice -- that's what the people seek and expect -- there will be no problem," Erdoğan said.
The president stressed that he himself would chair meetings with various circles in society -- including the academia and the media -- at the presidential complex to listen to their opinions. Erdoğan said most of the developed countries have a presidential or semi-presidential system. "I believe we can take much stronger steps once Turkey has shifted to such a system," he added. "We are in search of the better."
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