What happened to the constitutional changes?
It was not only a change of the country’s prime minister. It was not that the government of former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was replaced by the government of new Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. Together with the new government, a new balance has been formed between the president and the prime minister.
Even if the two had different opinions on the selection of cabinet ministers, the prime minister picked the names the president preferred. In the case that the desired constitutional amendment could not be made, then, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “We will continue serving our nation as the president and the prime minister in harmony.”
I am not sharing this in the sense that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has given up its targets of a presidential system or a president affiliated with a political party. On the contrary, the priority of the new government is, if possible, the presidential system, or if not, a transfer to a president with a political party affiliation.
Meanwhile, because of the process of holding a party convention, the change of the party leader and the prime minister, the works on the new constitutional have been interrupted.
Constitutional preparations were conducted by Ömer Çelik when the prime minister was not present. Çelik has since been appointed as EU minister. Also, it is not known yet whether the same delegation will continue or a revision will be made - or even if a new delegation will be formed.
The 12-person delegation, in which Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ also contributed from time to time, was made up of these names: Cemil Çiçek, Mehmet Ali Şahin, Ahmet İyimaya, Mustafa Şentop, Hayati Yazıcı, Burhan Kuzu, Şeref Malkoç, Mehmet Uçum, Şükrü Karatepe, Taha Özhan, Ali İhsan Arslan and Abdülhamit Gül. In this political delegation, legal experts such as Professors Adem Sözüer, Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez and Yavuz Atar also contributed.
The delegation had started writing the preamble and fundamental rights and freedoms sections.
President Erdoğan does not prefer a very comprehensive constitution. He opts for a short constitution containing certain chapters and articles.
The head of the Constitution Commission, Şentop, shares the opinion that the constitution should have five main sections and a maximum of 150 to 160 pages.
The AK Party has not given up its target of a new constitution based on the presidential system. However, when the seat distribution in parliament is taken into consideration, it is more realistic to aim for a president with a political party affiliation.
On his return from his Africa trip, President Erdoğan said it did not differ too much, whether it was the presidential system or a president affiliated with a political party. This should be the code of the government.
A president affiliated with a political party is regarded as the matching up of the de facto situation with the constitution.
The AK Party will be proposing a constitutional amendment changing the provision in the 101th article, which states: “The President-elect, if a member of a party, shall sever his relations with his party.” The text of the oath in the 103rd article will also be changed.
The new government has been formed, now is the time for a president affiliated with a party; then will come the constitution…