AKP, CHP, MHP hold first meet on constitutional reform

AKP, CHP, MHP hold first meet on constitutional reform

AKP, CHP, MHP hold first meet on constitutional reform

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have gathered for the first time in order to hold talks on a “mini constitution package.”

At the meeting on Aug. 12, the three parties also delivered messages on the prevalence of the conciliation climate which has emerged following the July 15 failed coup attempt.

In the wake of the uprising, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had invited the CHP and MHP to meet to discuss steps to be taken in the wake of the coup. As at the “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” at the Yenikapı parade ground in Istanbul held on Aug. 7, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was not included.

The Yenikapı event was the first time the leaders of the AKP, the CHP and MHP shared the same platform.

However the HDP – the third largest party in parliament – was not present.

In an interview aired on public broadcaster TRT late on Aug. 11, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu pointed at the absence of the HDP along the constitution-making process.

“Politics has a mission; politics is made in the legitimate field, not in the illegitimate field. The duty of politics, the duty of the CHP too, of the AKP too, and of the MHP too, is to take the HDP inside the legitimate field,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen for orchestrating the coup attempt, which killed about 240 people. He has initiated a crackdown on Gülen’s followers within the judiciary, military and the rest of the government for alleged links to the coup plot. 

Any constitutional change requires the support of at least 367 deputies in the 550-seat assembly to pass directly. The AKP has 316 seats while the CHP has 133 lawmakers. 

Opposition parties have been wary of the AKP’s years-long campaign for a new constitution because Erdoğan has made transforming his office from a largely ceremonial post into an executive-style presidency a central aspect of the new charter. They worry this will concentrate too much power in his hands.