Main opposition to not appeal to Turkey’s top court over constitution change

Main opposition to not appeal to Turkey’s top court over constitution change

ANKARA
Main opposition to not appeal to Turkey’s top court over constitution change

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has announced that his party will not appeal to the Constitutional Court over the constitutional amendment that will be voted on in a referendum in early April.

“If the sovereignty of the people is at stake, the high council on this subject is the council of the people. That’s why we will not appeal to the Constitutional Court,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 14 addressing his party’s parliamentary group.

“Until April 16, when the decision will be made, we will entrust the next 60 days to the nation’s justice,” he added.

His comments came after the CHP’s harsh criticism of government-sponsored constitutional amendment prompted speculation that the party may appeal to the top court.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım commented on the decision, saying the CHP “must have understood that no positive result would emerge from the Constitutional Court.”

The CHP says the proposed constitutional amendment violates the principle of separation of powers and will amount to a “regime change.”

“That’s why I am saying that if you say ‘no,’ Turkey will take a deep breath,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, listing his opposition to the charter.

“Should the president biased or impartial? Since the Republic was established the president has been impartial. The president must be impartial because they represent 80 million,” he said, referring to the amendment which re-establishes president’s links to a political party.

“Should one person have the authority to abolish parliament? Such authority was not even given to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” Kılıçdaroğlu added. 

“If a person has been corrupt and 550 representatives that you have elected cannot ask ‘Where did you spend this money?’ then you should go to the polls and say ‘no’ with your full belief,” he said.


‘Academics are free to be politically active’

Recalling the latest decrees that dismissed hundreds of academics from universities across Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu said the crackdown “violates the right to free expression.”

“You are dismissing university teachers whose thoughts are not suitable for you. On what grounds are you dismissing those university teachers?” he said, adding that academics are legally allowed to be members of political parties.

“According to the political parties act, a university professor can be a member of a political party of his or her choice. Academics can intellectually serve political parties in order to raise the quality,” he said, also slamming the imprisonment of many journalists.

“The number of journalists imprisoned after the Sept. 12 [1980 military coup] was 31. The number of journalists imprisoned after July 20 [2016 state of emergency declaration] now exceeds 150,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, repeating his earlier description of the first declaration of the state of emergency as a “coup.”