Charter panel looks set to snub military

Charter panel looks set to snub military

Göksel Bozkurt ANKARA
Charter panel looks set to snub military

Atilla Kart, one of the CHP members of the commission, says non-Muslim minorities should be listened in the process. AA photo

Initial discussions among members of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission suggest that the military is not among the institutions that the panel will invite to consultations on the new charter, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Representatives of non-Muslim communities and the Religious Affairs Directorate are expected to be among those whose opinion will be solicited, with the final list yet to be outlined.

During the latest meeting of the panel on Oct. 31, members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) objected to seeking the opinion of the General Staff on grounds that bodies attached to the Prime Ministry should not submit their views separately, sources said.

“I don’t think that the military will submit an opinion even if they are asked. There is no need for that anyway. The Prime Ministry, which they are attached to, will convey the opinion of related institutions,” Atilla Kart, one of the CHP members of the commission, told the Daily News.

Kart said the representatives of non-Muslim minorities should be listened to so that “they get an opportunity to express their expectations from the new constitution.”

Altan Tan, a commission representative for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), backed the CHP argument that a separate opinion from the General Staff should not be sought.

“If the soldiers want to say anything, they should do so through the Prime Ministry. And not just them. The State Waterworks Authority, for instance, should convey its opinion through the ministry it is attached to. Otherwise, the commission will be swamped,” Tan said.

“However, the chief of the General Staff has the right to send an email, just as any citizen, to express his personal opinion,” he added.

The Daily News has learned that representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) withheld comment on the CHP and BDP stance on the military during the Oct. 31 meeting.

The General Staff was on a draft list of institutions whose opinion will be sought, which also included the Presidency, the Prime Ministry, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Council of State, the Constitutional Court, the Court of Accounts, the National Security Council, the Religious Affairs Directorate, minority community foundations, artists, the media, trade unions, bar associations and municipalities.

The list will be finalized by three sub-commissions, which will be set up by Nov. 15 to collect input on the new charter from institutions and civic society.