It is possible for Turkey to establish a new constitution as long as there is strong will, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said Sunday.
“A new constitution is not a utopia or something beyond reach,” Şentop told a live broadcast on Ülke TV, reiterating the importance of changing the current Constitution and ridding it of traces of putschist ideology stemming from the 1980 coup.
He noted that the discrepancies between certain articles within the Constitution are among the issues that need to be addressed.
In response to a question asking whether a consensus can be reached between ruling and opposing parties, and what that consensus would look like, Şentop said some parties require preconditions to be fulfilled, making it impossible to reach an agreement.
“It is not possible to draft a constitution with full consensus,” Şentop said, adding that the two sides should first work through the articles that they do agree on and later referendums can be had on disputed areas.
The Parliamentary speaker also dismissed the criticisms of Good Party (IP) Chairperson Meral Akşener, saying that the government does not intend to design a new constitution from scratch to establish a “second republic.”
“Numbering the republic is a French custom. The French are currently in their fifth republic,” Şentop said, adding that the government is not revising the 1924 Constitution but is rather revising the amendments made by putschists in 1961 and 1982.
“To the contrary, this new constitution will give an opportunity to return to the principles at the time of the establishment of the Republic,” Şentop said, adding that the current text is the brainchild of coup perpetrators.
He added that he is willing to do everything within his responsibilities to support the new constitution and will hold meetings with different parties if necessary.
In a later statement, Şentop said he sees everyone is determined for a new constitution.
“The idea of a new Constitution always sparks excitement. I see everyone’s determination in this regard,” Şentop said.
He also criticized the opposition parties for saying that Turkey should switch back to the parliamentary system.
“The idea of a debate on the system of government precisely means a debate on the Constitution,” Şentop said, adding that it is controversial to get involved in such a debate while avoiding discussion on the Constitution.
“I believe that everyone needs to leave aside the attempts to read intentions and try to see that everyone can unite and realize the potential for a new Constitution,” Şentop added.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül also said he believes Turkey will be able to make a new constitution in the new century of the republic.
“We have full faith that we will be able to crown the second century of our republic with the spirit of the 1921 Constitution with a new social contract and with the will of our Parliament,” Gül said Monday.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) pledged to support the plans to draft a new constitution.
Turkey’s current Constitution was drafted following the Sept. 12, 1980, coup d’etat, and it still features elements of putschist influence despite a number of amendments having been made to subdue it.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) wants Turkey to have a civilian-drafted Constitution by 2023, coinciding with the centenary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey.
The AK Party could potentially discuss revisions to the presidential oath, the Constitutional Court, the election of the supreme judicial institutions, democratic rights and freedoms as well as the president being able to introduce bill proposals at his prerogative.
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