If we cannot achieve this, shame on us…
Cemil Çiçek is doing a historic job. He is trying, with all his might, to make our society - which is so used to only being a spectator - contribute, to express its opinion on the new constitution.
Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu is activating all the chambers and subsidiaries where he is influential. TÜSÝAD has come up with concrete proposals. The “Istanbul Policy Center” has gathered 100 suggestions.
Then, I turn and look at the opposition. I see indifference there.
I don’t want to feel like (Milliyet writer) Hasan Cemal. He wrote that he has already started to lose his enthusiasm for the preparations to write a new constitution. I have not lost mine yet, and I don’t want to lose it.
I regard the new constitution as an opportunity for our country to overcome all existing obstacles. I value it as having the potential to clear the path that will allow us to overcome the problems we have not been able to solve up to now. Once these obstacles, these chains, are removed, the rest will be much easier.
Now is the time to create a new Turkey.
It is time to create an environment where all segments of society can live together peacefully, with all the old restrictions and bans removed. We should not regard the constitution as if it belongs to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), or adopt the position that “whatever they do is wrong/right.” If we turn this into a government-opposition fight, we cannot go anywhere.
Similarly, the AK Parti should also not try to write its own constitution. They should seek consensus and write a constitution in which all segments participate. If they can achieve this, then they will have done a truly historic job.
If we cannot reach an agreement on the new constitution, then this is what we deserve. Shame on us.
It will mean that we wish to live with the Kurdish issue unresolved, far from democracy. It will mean that we are comfortable with proceeding with a freakish constitution.
I want a constitution without ‘howevers’
The old state of Turkey loved the kind of laws that had traps in them, the ones that looked democratic but which actually had several “but in our circumstances” or “but this does not apply in certain situations” clauses.
Our current constitution is like this. Our new constitution should be different from the old one.
- A constitution free of vagueness, which stresses democracy for all it’s worth.
- A constitution foregrounding individuals’ freedom, instead of Atatürkist nationalism-revolution and its principles.
- A constitution where the “Turkish” emphasis is removed, where those articles that block the solution to the Kurdish issue are removed, where the road to Kurdish education and local governance is opened.
- A constitution in which the bans that only succeeded in separating and conflicting society are all removed.
- A constitution that does not interfere with anybody’s religion and at the same time does not allow religion to rule.
My dream is to see such a constitution. I dream of a short, clearly written constitution that is equal to everyone.
Moreover, I also believe that such a major constitutional change can only be possible with the present parliament. In the future, when we enter an era of coalition governments, we will have missed this opportunity. We will not be able to leave a sound heritage to our children.