The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has accelerated its efforts for a new constitution by seeking to conciliate every segment of society.
The efforts will be conducted under the supervision of AK Party Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin. The opinions of civil society groups about the new constitution will be collected initially.
A 60-article draft, which was approved by opposition parties, will be included in the new package. A constitution conciliation committee was formed in Parliament back in 2011. After spending two years on a draft, political parties Parliament agreed on 60 articles but failed to reach concrete results.
The former bill includes 43 articles related to basic rights and liberties, such as introducing hate crimes to the constitution, the recognition of torture as an inhumane crime, the protection of private life, the freedom of communication, the restructuring of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and allowing civil servants political rights.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this year said that it is time to discuss drafting a new constitution. He underlined that Turkey will have a comprehensive, clear, democratic and liberal constitution to guide the country in the upcoming century, amid debates for a new civil constitution for Turkey.
Since 1982, the current Constitution, drafted following a military coup, has seen a number of amendments. The bloody 1980 coup, which led to the detention of hundreds of thousands of people along with mass trials, torture and executions, still stands as a black stain in Turkish political history.
The president’s proposal came four years after the 2017 constitutional referendum asked voters to decide on an 18-article bill to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, among other changes. The amendments to the Constitution were jointly introduced by the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Erdoğan was elected president under the new system in 2018.
Erdoğan wants Turkey to have a civilian-drafted constitution by 2023, coinciding with the centenary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. He also underlined that the doors are open for all political parties to contribute to constitutional reform.
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