People hungry for justice from charter
IZMIR - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek (2R) and TOBB head Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu (R) attend a meeting in İzmir on the preparation of a new constutition. DHA photoThe most important concept that must be highlighted in the new constitution is “justice,” according to the majority of the people living in İzmir who expressed their expectations and demands from the new charter, echoing a similar demand all around the country.
A total of 54 percent of the participants in the Constitution Conciliation Commission’s meeting yesterday in the Aegean province under the “Turkey Speaks” initiative expressed the new charter should respond to the question of “justice,” well ahead of “freedom” and “equality,” which both received 18 percent of the votes. İzmir, a stronghold of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), is a rare province where the ruling party’s influence remains weak.
The number of participants prioritizing “justice” was similar in other meetings held across the country, with 58 percent in Konya and 60 percent in Ankara voting for “justice” as a top priority.
The participants were also asked how they saw the current Constitution and whether they would like to have a new charter. Almost 41 percent agreed a new constitution was a must, a number drastically less than the people of the southeastern province Diyarbakır, whose 82 percent of participants wished for a new constitution.
Deputies in prison
“One of the deputies we have elected is still behind bars. Our mayor faces the risk of hundreds of years’ imprisonment as a result of unending police operations. Of course we will seek justice and we will push for it,” a participant who wished to remain anonymous told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Mustafa Balbay, a prominent journalist who was elected to Parliament from the ranks of the CHP last year, has not been released from prison along with seven other deputies from different parties. A prosecutor demanded a sum of 397 years of jail for Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu due to alleged corruption claims.
A parliamentary commission to coordinate the works of drafting the new constitution was set up last October with equal representation of the four parties represented in Parliament. The Constitution Conciliation Commission and a prominent civil society organization under the leadership of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) are touring the provinces of the country to take the pulse of the people and their expectations.
According to Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, the meeting in İzmir was the most crowded one since the “Turkey Speaks” platform was launched. He praised the commitment and determinacy of the people of İzmir in democracy. The organizers said 750 people joined the meeting and about 250 could not enter the hall due to the space limit. İzmir was also the venue with the highest observed female participation. Around one third of the participants were female. In addition, half of the participants had a university degree.
“I know how İzmir contributed to the democratic achievements of our country in recent history,” Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek said. “And I know perfectly that we will get the same contribution this time as well.”
Women to meet for charter talks
Hürriyet Daily News
The Constitution Conciliation Commission will hold a special session to hear the needs of women’s groups on March 8, International Women’s Day, sources said.
The commission has been touring in the country’s different provinces since early January. However, there were serious criticisms because of the low participation of women in the meetings.
“We will hold a special meeting just for women on March 8, no men will be allowed in,” said sources. The meeting will be held in Ankara.