Charter talks not ‘inclusive’ without CHP: MHP

Charter talks not ‘inclusive’ without CHP: MHP

Charter talks not ‘inclusive’ without CHP: MHP

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Negotiation talks to hammer out a new constitution for Turkey would not be inclusive without the country’s main opposition party, the nationalist party has said in response to a call the parliament speaker made for the four political parties to return to the negotiation table.

“It is obvious that an inclusive and well-rounded agreement could not be reached without the CHP [Republican People’s Party],” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli said in a written statement on March 9, adding that his party had always wanted the CHP at the negotiation table.

“The MHP has always asked the AKP to kindly invite the CHP to the commission from the beginning,” Bahçeli said. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had set a six-month calendar for a parliamentary panel tasked with forging a new constitution, but the panel, which started working Feb. 4, was dissolved in mid-February after just three sessions. The CHP left the negotiation table on Feb. 16, arguing that MPs from the ruling party considered all subjects discussed in the sessions under the umbrella of shifting to a presidential system, a desire repeatedly cited by leading figures from the ruling party as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman has since called on Turkey’s four political parties to reconvene around the negotiation table.

Bahçeli said the AKP’s “problematic perspective” of persistence on changing the current constitution’s first four articles and the issue of presidential system should immediately be sorted out from those to be discussed during the new talks.

The country’s Kurdish-issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), meanwhile, said the negotiation talks should continue with all four political parties that have representative power in parliament, responding to the parliament speaker’s call.

“The constitution commission should continue with participation of the four political parties that have members in the parliament without the tutelage of anybody,” HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ said in a letter on March 9.

“Our party believes that the need for a constitution that would be pluralistic and democratic should be taken into account,” they added.