The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) expects to hold several more meetings on the draft for a new constitution after the Qurban Bayram holiday, also known as Eid al-Adha holiday, the party spokesperson said Wednesday.
Ömer Çelik noted that the AK Party and its People’s Alliance partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would start work to merge their two texts under a single, combined document. He continued by saying that the joint text would be announced to the public once the work has been completed. The MHP completed its draft for Turkey’s new constitution back in May. Noting that the draft contains 100 articles, MHP Chairperson Devlet Bahçeli said the current atmosphere of conciliation makes it a necessity to draft a new constitution and his party is ready to contribute with no preconditions.
The MHP’s proposal consists of four sections, 100 articles and has kept the irrevocable provisions as they are. It allows the parliament speaker to act as a mediator during times of political crisis, while it also addresses obscurities regarding the lifting of parliamentary immunity.
The executive was outlined as being under two sections according to the proposal, led by the president and two vice presidents. Meanwhile, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is restructured into a "Religious Affairs Ministry."
The fundamental rights and freedoms section of the draft was written taking into consideration human rights treaties Turkey is a signatory of, Bahçeli said, adding that they emphasize freedoms as the basis of the constitution and restrictions as being exceptions.
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 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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