President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will finalize work on a new constitution before the legislative year ends, stressing the party's determination to replace the existing one with a more democratic version.
“If we’re able to conciliate with other parties’ constitution proposals, we may finalize work for Turkey’s first civilian-drafted constitution by year-end,” Erdoğan told the AK Party‘s first parliamentary group meeting of the 27th session on Wednesday. Thanking fellow lawmakers for their hard work on the draft, the president said he has full faith that Parliament will create the country’s first civilian-drafted constitution.
He noted that if they fail to reconcile, then the AK Party would come up with its own regulations based on the party’s experience and expertise until the 2023 elections.
The president also criticized the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for pledging to change the first four articles of the Constitution and covertly cooperating with the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The first four articles of the Turkish Constitution are irrevocable and amendments to them cannot be suggested.
"History will certainly hold accountable those who put the oldest party of the republic, which is the CHP, under the command of a terrorist organization's puppet, which is the HDP," he said.
The first three articles of Turkey's Constitution say the country is a democratic, secular and social republic governed by the rule of law, with Turkish as its official language and Ankara as its capital. The fourth article guarantees that the first three are irrevocable and unchangeable.
“Is the proposal to change the first four articles of the Constitution CHP’s idea or Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s personal opinion?” Erdoğan said, adding that there is a serious problem if the main opposition party embraces it. He argued that the idea is designed to appease the HDP, and that if the party embraces it, it means it has come under the HDP's tutelage.
The Turkish Parliament launched the fifth legislative year of its 27th term on Friday.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairperson Devlet Bahçeli announced that he had completed the "new constitution" proposal in May and conveyed it to Erdoğan. Then, Erdoğan appointed a committee under the chairpersonship to work on the new constitution.
Erdoğan has declared that they are "determined to present the new constitutional proposals to the nation's discretion" in the first months of next year. It is said that AK Party has nearly completed its new constitution proposal and will submit it for the MHP to review before the new year.
The current Turkish Constitution was made after a military coup in 1980 and Erdoğan has been pushing for a new constitution to be drafted under civilian rule.
After working alongside the MHP, a meeting has been planned with the opposition to garner support for the new constitution package, which will be released for public discussion in the first months of 2022.
Turkey needs a new constitution and Parliament has the capacity to create it, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said last week.
Meanwhile, regarding the Good Party (IP) Chairperson Meral Akşener’s recent announcement that she would run for the now-defunct position of prime minister in 2023, Erdoğan said it was triggered by the HDP’s secret veto of the IP chair and described the move as “tragicomic.”
“Akşener has sought an imaginary position,” Erdoğan said.
Turkish voters narrowly endorsed an executive presidency in the April 16, 2017 referendum with 51.4% of the votes. The official transition to the new system took place when Erdoğan took the oath as president in Parliament after the June 24, 2018, general elections, during which he won 52.6% of the votes.
In response to Akşener’s remarks, CHP Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said his party has been holding discussions with Nation Alliance members and other opposition parties regarding the elections. On Tuesday, opposition parties held a meeting at Parliament to discuss an enhanced parliamentary system.
The president also criticized CHP's Kılıçdaroğlu for becoming a national security issue.
“Turkey does not have a government problem, but it is true that we are facing a serious opposition problem,” Erdoğan said.
The AK Party criticizes the CHP for secretly cooperating with the pro-PKK HDP to reach its goals, as they argue that the HDP is merely the political branch of the PKK terrorists.