Bülent Arınç expects new definition of citizenship in charter

Bülent Arınç expects new definition of citizenship in charter

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Bülent Arınç expects new definition of citizenship in charter

Deputy Prime Minister Arınç says Turkey’s new charter will meet expectations on definition of citizenship.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has expressed confidence that the commission charged with drafting the new constitution will heed the expectations of a considerable part of society and change the definition of citizenship from “Turkish citizenship” to “citizenship of the Republic of Turkey.”

Arınç also lent his support to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose comments on the notion of the “nation state” have been harshly criticized by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), speaking in a televised interview late on Sept. 19.

In addition to being a politician, Davutoğlu is a serious academic, whose books are used as university textbooks, Arınç said, when reminded of Davutoğlu’s remarks in an interview published Sept. 17 in daily Hürriyet, in which he was quoted as saying “It is time to settle the score with nationalism.” Those who discuss remarks made by such an academic should be at the same level with him or should be people who know these issues well, Arınç said.

“For example, many politicians say ‘citizenship of the Republic of Turkey’ should be the basis, and ‘Turkish citizenship’ should not be used anymore,’ and there are many people who hold [this] expectation; and I’m sure that when the new constitution is out, [we’ll see] all parties agreed on this issue,” Arınç said, highlighting the need for a more libertarian understanding of citizenship.

Davutoğlu’s remarks should not be distorted by selectively choosing remarks critical of the nation state, Arınç said. “When it comes to nationalism, Ahmet Davutoğlu is much more nationalist than [his critics] are. We don’t discuss our nationalism with anyone.”

On Sept. 19, the deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) parliamentary group, Akif Hamzaçebi, suggested that Davutoğlu does not deserve to continue occupying his seat after his remarks criticizing the principle of nationalism.

“Nationalism is based on the state. There is no nationalism if a nation state does not exist. Mr. Davutoğlu openly says ‘we must break up the nation state.’ This is clear and sharp. Mr. Davutoğlu does not deserve to hold the seat of foreign minister of the Turkish Republic,” Hamzaçebi said.

Davutoğlu had argued that nationalism is a 19th-century ideology that united the feudal administrations of Europe, but that the same ideology, however, had had the negative effect in Turkey of creating artificial identities.

Arınç voiced his pleasure at the fact that CHP members, led by party chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, had earlier this week paid respect to Adnan Menderes, who was executed by the military junta in 1961. “It should not remain just a show,” he said, however.