Charter will prioritize freedom, says Çiçek

Charter will prioritize freedom, says Çiçek

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Charter will prioritize freedom, says Çiçek

The current Constitution is dominated by the issue of ‘security,’ according to Cemil Çiçek. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Turkey’s current Constitution is based on the issue of security, leaving freedoms in second place, but this should change in the new constitution, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has said.

Turkey is paying the price of using an expired constitution, but the four parties in Parliament have the power and the will to change it, Çiçek said at a meeting with the leaders of Turkish minority communities in Istanbul’s Şişli City Hall on March 2.

“There was no balance between the executive, legislative and judicial powers before we [the Justice and Development Party (AKP)] tried to compensate with some changes in the last years, but it is still not enough. The government has the quantitative power but not the political,” Çiçek said. If Turkey does not renew its charter, the country may have a crisis, he said.

Çiçek said in the current Constitution the issue of “security” dominated the law. “However, the issue of freedom is kind of avoided in the Constitution. This needs to be changed in the new constitution,” Çiçek said. 

The representatives of religious minorities also attended the meeting. Aram Ateşyan, the acting Armenian patriarch, slammed the citizenship definition in the Constitution. “I am an Armenian-Turkish citizen, but the third article of the Constitution says I am a Turk. No, I am not. I am a Turkish citizen, but I am an Armenian.”

The Syriac community’s Metropolitan Bishop Yusuf Çetin and Chief Rabbi İshak Haleva also attended the meeting.