CHP reiterates rejection of system shift in constitution talks

CHP reiterates rejection of system shift in constitution talks

CHP reiterates rejection of system shift in constitution talks

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Turkey’s main opposition party has reiterated that it will not discuss any shift in the country’s political system during talks to write a new constitution, despite persistence on the issue from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“Being part of a commission that would pave the way for any ‘mastered presidential regime’ is definitely out of the question,” said Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Group Chair Levent Gök, reading a letter penned by CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in response to a call by Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman for Turkey’s four political parties at parliament to return to the table.

Speaking at a press conference in parliament on March 2, Gök said the CHP would not be part of any talks that would ignore Turkey’s “200-year-old political heritage” and deviate from the current parliamentary system. 

The ruling AKP had set a six-month calendar for a parliamentary panel tasked with forging a new constitution, but the panel that started working on Feb. 4 was dissolved in mid-February after holding just three sessions.

The AKP and the CHP have traded accusations over the dissolving of the inter-party parliamentary panel that consisted of three lawmakers from each political party, after the latter having left the negotiation table on Feb. 16. CHP deputies argued at the time that MPs from the ruling party considered all subjects discussed in the sessions under the umbrella of shifting to a presidential system, as repeatedly cited by leading figures from the ruling party as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“This commission has ended,” İsmail Kahraman announced late on Feb. 16 after the third meeting of the commission.

In his letter responding to Kahraman’s call to reconvene the commission, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticized the stance of the main opposition party, saying that placing prior conditions before joining the talks went against the spirit of “reconciliation.”

“Reconciliation is about being ready for any talks, without dictating anything to your counterpart. If you say ‘my position is this or that, I don’t care about anything else’ that means you have not understood the meaning of the reconciliation commission,” Davutoğlu said.