ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
President Abdullah Gül tasks politicians with fulfilling their ‘historic responsibility’ to draft a new charter in 2013 after a year of deadlock
President Abdullah Gül. DAILY NEWS photo
The advent of a new year necessitates renewed efforts to finish drafting Turkey’s new Constitution, President Abdullah Gül said yesterday, encouraging politicians to finish the work that they have started.
“I see a benefit in reminding [politicians] that it is the historic responsibility of parties and Parliament to conclude works on the new charter speedily, with common sense and in line with the people’s expectations,” Gül said in a written message yesterday. “There is a great opportunity for our Parliament, which has wide representation, to increase the level of our democracy.”
Gül’s message came on the final day of the mandate of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission, which has yet to complete a draft document.
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek
has launched an initiative to extend the commission’s mandate for another three to four months.
As part of this initiative, Çiçek will meet main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş tomorrow following weekend meetings with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
The president also delivered a message on Turkey’s ongoing negotiations with the European Union, saying Turkey’s membership in the bloc would benefit both sides, adding that it was equally important both for Turkey to keep up its reform process and for it to receive fair treatment from Brussels.
Embracing and implementing universal values are important for Turkey to achieve prominence in the new world order, Gül said.
The president also touched on events in Syria, saying 2012 had been an annus horribilis for the Arab republic. He expressed his wish for an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria and for a swift democratic transition facilitated by the international community. “I want to say once again that the international community should adopt a firmer stance with regard to Syria,” he said.
Gül also urged the government to continue on with structural reforms to avoid the negative effects of the ongoing global financial crisis.
On Turkey’s most important problem of terrorism, the president said the country would not allow a deterioration in its environment of peace and comfort and would further push to maintain its unity.
Çiçek also voiced his wish yesterday for 2013 to pass without terrorist activities in the country. “The continuation of terrorism and violent incidents – which have upset our people for years – this year has been our greatest sorrow,” he said in a New Year’s message.