AKP gov’t vows to nix law justifying coups

AKP gov’t vows to nix law justifying coups

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP gov’t vows to nix law justifying coups

It’s impossible for democracy and the rule of law to survive amid the existence of coupera laws, Deputy Premier Bozdağ says, calling for an action to nix these regulations. AA photo

Turkey’s government will carry out a wide-ranging study to amend a legal article that has been frequently been used to justify military interventions in politics, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said yesterday.

“We will share the details of the amendment after concluding our works. But we can clearly say this: Our laws will fully be cleared of such illegal regulations,” Bozdağ told Kanal 7 in an interview yesterday.

Article 35 of the internal service law reads: “The duty of the Turkish Armed Forces is to watch over and protect the Turkish homeland and the Turkish Republic as designated by the Constitution.” The Turkish army staged coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980 on the basis of Article 35, arguing that civilian authorities were failing to preserve constitutional principles. “While on the one hand we are facing the coups of the past, we are on the other hand continuing to rule the country with the constitution written after the coup. These are all a shame on us. We have to be able to remove them,” he said. Recalling that his government promised to remove undemocratic elements from the law, including Article 35, Bozdağ said: “It’s impossible for democracy and the rule of law to survive amid the existence of such [articles]. This Parliament will take praiseworthy steps [to change the law].” He also said the government was determined to create judicial unity by further restricting the authorities of the military judiciary. “Having civilian and military judiciaries means the existence of two states. No such thing can be. We’ll make our points much clearer in the process of writing the new constitution.”

AKP seks a partner

Touching on ongoing efforts to renew the charter, Bozdağ signaled his party’s intention to make an alliance with one of the political parties represented at the Parliament whose number of lawmakers would suffice to amend the constitution in the event of a total collapse of the parliamentary commission. Dismissing the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) as a potential partner due to its insufficient number of seats, Bozdağ said they would cooperate with a party that would have the numerical strength to make an amendment. “If we cannot do this with any of the parties, then we’ll make our alliance with the people. We’ll explain this situation to the people in the elections and demand authority from them. And if they give this us, we’ll look for ways to realize this,” he said.



The main opposition party said priority should be given to amending laws that remain from the 1980 coup before rewriting the constitution if the government wants to prove its democratic identity.

“They talk about changing the constitution. OK, let’s do it. But before doing so, we have to amend the laws remaining from the Sept. 12 coup d’etat. If you do not change them, if you still continue your path with these laws, I am sorry but I can’t call them democratic,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican

People’s Party (CHP), said in his address to the Mukhtar Confederation Oct. 7. “Being democratic is respecting the people’s will,” he said.

The main opposition party frequently criticizes the government for its unwillingness to change laws legislated by the military junta on the grounds that they serve to their advantage.