New constitution won’t solve all Turkey’s problems: Former Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek
ANKARAFormer Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has said a change in the constitution would not solve all of Turkey’s many problems, adding that it is not right to blame the current constitution for all unresolved political issues and “mentality obstacles” also play a role.
“Turkey is wasting its energy on internal issues while it should be taking care of developments abroad. It is as if all problems will be solved when the constitution changes ... But the constitution has no such role. It would not be right to exaggerate this and say the constitution can [resolve] outstanding issues. Is it the constitution that bars [political opponents] from shaking hands with each other? ... There are mentality obstacles at this point. Putting all the blame on the constitution is wrong,” said Çiçek in an interview with daily Habertürk on July 11.
Çiçek, currently an Ankara deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said his party should lay out what it wanted with its presidential system proposal starting from article one and the opposition should also do the same with the parliamentary system. He added that prospects for democracy in these discussed systems are related to various actors’ “absorption of democracy,” so all of them could turn out to be democratic or problematic.
“The function of checks and balances mechanisms is important. Otherwise the parliamentary system could bring a dictatorship, as was the case with [Adolph] Hitler and [Benito] Mussolini. A presidential system could also bring [a dictatorship], as was the case in Latin America,” said Çiçek, stressing that Turkey lacks a “democracy culture” and “morals” regarding systemic issues.
He also said the country’s opposition had missed its opportunity to take advantage of the government’s mistakes after the June 7, 2015 general election, signaling the weakness of the current state of democracy in Turkey.
“Democracy is as strong as the quality of the opposition,” Çiçek added.