AK Party to join forces with opposition CHP, MHP for mini constitution package

ELIF PETEK SAMATYALI
ANKARA
Published 11.08.2016 22:34

Representatives from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) and National Development Party (MHP) will gather today to discuss a new, small constitutional package.As the first step taken for a new constitution, the meeting is expected to be joined by the AK Party Secretary-General Abdülhamit Gül, CHP Deputy Chairman Bülent Tezcan and Mehmet Parsak from the MHP's central executive board, who were all members of the last Constitution Conciliation Commission in February 2016.

The three parties had decided to prepare a new constitution package as part of the post-coup attempt meeting held on July 25 between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli.

Today's meeting will include topics like the abolishment of military high courts within the scope of ridding discrimination between military and civil courts, as well as dividing the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) into two parts – the Board of Judges and the Board of Prosecutors will be discussed. The package further aims at gathering high courts under one roof and shutting down the Military Government Court, Supreme Military Court and Military State Council. As part of the mini constitution package, transferring control of the General Staff and National Intelligence Organization (MIT) to the presidency will also be discussed.The prioritized topic of the meeting will be to authorize Parliament to have a predominant say in the member selections for the HSYK's two bodies in order to purge Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) sympathizers from the judiciary.

Inviting the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to take part, or not, will also be discussed. If all three representatives agree to include the HDP in the constitution package discussions as the only party in Parliament not included, the HDP will join the process. However, sources from the AK Party indicated that they are not in favor of the HDP participating in the meetings.

The three parties will give their opinions on the mini package and then prepare a report to be presented to both the constitutional commission and party leaders. The package will be discussed in the new legislative year.

While three party leaders agreed upon a narrow-scoped constitutional change consisting of 10 articles in the meeting with President Erdoğan in July, the content of the package might be extended, as the 60-article constitution designed by the 2013 Constitution Conciliation Commission is expected to be brought up in the meeting.

Additionally in AK Party's Central Executive Committee held on Tuesday under the presidency of the Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, the importance of the conciliation with the CHP and the MHP was highlighted after the failed July 15 coup attempt, as well as the necessity of being open for suggestions to come from the opposition parties within the frame of constitutional meetings. The party members also agreed upon holding by the constitutional decisions taken in the July 25 meeting with President Erdoğan and the party leaders as the baseline.

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