Çiçek concerned over debate on presidency

Çiçek concerned over debate on presidency

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Çiçek concerned over debate on presidency

‘If the constitution is not changed, today we will be speaking of the immunity issue and tomorrow another issue,’ Parliament Speaker Çiçek says. DAILY NEWS Photo/ Selahattin Sönmez

As Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission appeared close to getting dragged into a major crisis due to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) insistence on a presidential system despite the opposition’s strict objection, the commission gathered yesterday under the presidency of Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, who reportedly tried to soothe the parties and find a way out of a potential crisis that could jeopardize the future of the body’s entire work.

Hours before the Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission’s meeting, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek reiterated his conviction that a new constitution is a must for the country’s well-being.
If the AKP continues their insistence, the work of the commission will be de facto ended by the ruling party, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies argued during a meeting on Dec. 5, while Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies said the AKP should introduce a proposal in line with the parliamentary system.

Crisis over presidential system

“The way out is drafting of a new constitution. A new constitution which is line with the people’s expectations,” Çiçek said in an interview with CNN-Türk news channel.

In response to a question about the crisis over AKP’s presidential system proposal at the charter commission, Çiçek briefly voiced confidence in the common-sense of the members of the commission, declining to elaborate on the issue beforehand.

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 Turkey, preserving the unitary structure with a single Parliament and giving extraordinary authority to the president.
Yet proposals from all three opposition parties – the CHP, MHP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) – favor a parliamentary system.

In such cases of disagreement, related articles are written with red lines from the four parties, in other words, with reservations and parentheses. Yet since the proposal for a presidential system requires a major overhaul, the CHP and MHP did not want to use this method for this particular subject, despite the AKP’s offer. “This is an imposition,” the CHP’s Atilla Kart said of the proposal. The BDP’s Ayla Akat Ata also sided with Kart in criticizing the ruling party deputies for avoiding negotiation.

The MHP’s Faruk Bal and Kart made a joint statement to AKP deputies that “they should review their proposal if they are sincere in their ‘reconciliation,’” yet the AKP didn’t step back.