Charter team draws first border

Charter team draws first border

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Charter team draws first border

This file photo shows the members of the Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Committee as they are listening to suggestions from a group of NGOs for Turkey’s new charter. AA photo

A sub-commission of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Committee agreed last week on 45 titles under the Fundamental Freedoms and Rights chapter of the new constitution, and failed to reach an agreement on 10 titles, including education in native languages, conscientious objection to compulsory military service, Turkish citizenship, and the “protection of generations.”

The Constitution’s Fundamental Rights and Freedoms chapter will have five main sections including 45 titles, which will be finalized by the Committee on May 16, according to information obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News. The five sections in the sub-commission’s draft include “Basic Principles,” “Individual Rights and Freedoms,” “Political Rights and Freedoms,” “Social and Economic Rights,” and “Limiting Basic Rights and Freedoms.”

The 10 titles that the sub-commission failed to agree on will be presented to the Committee in a separate list. The titles will be discussed again after the Constitution is finalized if the Committee fails to resolve the sub-commission’s disagreements. The items still open for discussion include the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) demand for the right to education in one’s native language and conscientious objection to compulsory military service. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are not leaning towards allowing education in languages other than Turkish, but are open to reaching an agreement on conscientious objection. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), however, objects to both.

The MHP’s proposed definition of Turkish citizenship caused disagreements at the sub-commission after the AKP, CHP and BDP suggested using the term “citizen” instead of “Turkish citizen.” Decisions on the AKP’s “protection of generations” proposal, as well as the CHP’s proposal that protection against social alienation due to social pressure should be introduced, were also left unresolved.

The CHP’s Atilla Kart told the Hürriyet Daily News that his party gives importance to “the right to protection against social alienation, to prevent social pressure,” and would persist in supporting it on the Committee. “We believe it is important that this title appears in the constitution. Social pressure is not only religious, but also cultural or economic. We must provide constitutional protection against all forms of pressure,” said Kart.

The sub-commission also disagreed on the CHP and BDP’s demands for protection of “alternative sexual identities.” The parties were able to partially agree on constitutional protection against hate crimes, and to place the issue under the title of “discrimination.” Protection for minorities was also held over to be discussed by the Committee this week. The AKP, CHP and BDP’s proposed title of “human honor and the right to live” was mostly agreed on by the sub-commission, and will appear under the basic rights and freedoms section if approved by the Committee.

The CHP will also bring up the much-debated issue of jailed parliamentary deputies during the Committee meeting.