CHP to confront AKP on its presidential offer

CHP to confront AKP on its presidential offer

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP to confront AKP on its presidential offer

Main opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu’s CHP says AKP’s charter deadline pressure is for its new presidency proposal. AA photo

Lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will publicly urge the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) today to clarify its stance on their presidential system proposal, with the CHP maintaining that the proposal is the main reason behind deadline pressure imposed by the ruling party on the work of the Parliament Constitution Reconciliation Commission.

“Clarify your view concerning the presidential system. If you intend to dispatch the commission one month later, then you should not keep both us and the public busy. Your attitude is deadlocking the commission,” CHP sources told the Hürriyet Daily News, reflecting the main message to be delivered by CHP deputies Atilla Kart and Rıza Türmen, who both represent their party at the commission. The end of the year was a deadline highlighted many times by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and was a “target” in the 15-article deal signed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition, when work on the new charter began last year.

Recently, the AKP’s Mustafa Şentop proposed the end of February 2013 be set as the new deadline for the commission’s work.

As the AKP and opposition parties have been unable to reconcile their differences due to the AKP’s insistence on a presidential system, Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission decided in early December to temporarily suspend the debate on the presidential system.

Dysfunctional charter

“As long as the presidential system proposal is not given up, the commission will remain dysfunctional. That’s why as long as the AKP presents a concrete view on the fate of the proposal, meetings of this commission will remain futile,” the CHP’s Süheyl Batum, also a member of the commission, said during a Dec. 21 meeting of the commission.

In its proposal presented to the Commission on Nov. 20 as part of discussions on the “executive” section, the AKP suggested a “Turkified version of the U.S. executive system” for the country, preserving the unitary structure with a single Parliament and giving extraordinary authority to the president. However, proposals from all three opposition parties favor a parliamentary system.

During the same meeting on Dec. 21, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Faruk Bal also objected to the setting of deadlines.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has weighed in on the issue as well.

“The process is a historical one, along which Turkey’s people have expectations from the new constitution. The commission’s work should not be interrupted since people believe that a new constitution will help remove barriers before democratization. This commission’s work is also important in regards to societal peace,” Meral Danış Bektaş of the BDP said.