Constitution panel to recess until Aug 1

Constitution panel to recess until Aug 1

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Constitution panel to recess until Aug 1

BDP MP Hasip Kaplan says his party would not block the new constitution process. AA photo

Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission will break until Aug. 1 following the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) appeal for a recess in order to review party policies on the drafting process in which they accused other parties of disregarding their proposals.

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek said that all four parties would submit their opinions on the articles of the fundamental rights and freedoms chapter which have not been debated by July 25 and the commission will hold its next meeting on Aug. 1.

Çiçek dismissed the idea that the other parties had accepted the BDP’s demand for a recess, saying the commission had previously taken occasional breaks.

“The Constitution Conciliation Commission is not a panel that always works with all of its 12 members. There are sub-commissions and background work. We will continue our work. Besides, the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP will hold its congress [on July 17-18] and there is the BDP’s party meeting [July 17-20]. These are issues we knew of before,” Çiçek told reporters after yesterday’s session of the commission.

Charter panel members from the BDP requested a 10-day break on Monday, following a war of words during a commission meeting. Sırrı Süreyya Önder of the BDP said almost every proposal from his party was being ignored by the other three parties on the commission.

“The proposals we have brought [to the panel] during the process of drafting the new constitution are not being debated. Representatives of the other three parties are passing over our proposals saying ‘Let’s put those [proposals] in parentheses,’” Önder said July 9. Önder claimed that issues related to the use of “mother tongues” have especially been disregarded by other parties.

Çiçek, however, played down the BDP’s criticism that their contributions are being ignored.

“If one or two parties differ on an issue, we put this difference in parentheses in order to re-debate it.

This is a method we instituted in order to be able to progress. Deducing a negative impression from these disagreements is not right. After all, the writing down is the hardest part of this process. That’s why we are debating every issue here. There are issues we both agree and disagree upon. There is no more different situation from yesterday or the day before,” Çiçek said.

BDP’s Hasip Kaplan, meanwhile, said his party would not block the process of drafting the new constitution, but added that the BDP will expose those who undermine the process.
So far, not so good

The charter panel has debated 20 articles so far within the section on “Fundamental Rights and Freedoms,” and has reached an agreement on only two articles. Ten articles have been skipped and left to the end of the related chapter, and eight articles have been approved with reservation, meaning that parties’ different proposals on those articles have been put into parentheses.

Skipped articles include equality, children’s rights, individual freedom and security, privacy of personal life, protection of privacy and personal life, immunity of domiciles, freedom of communication, freedom to travel, freedom of science and arts, and property rights.

Articles approved with reservation include freedom of contract, freedom of association, freedom to carry out demonstrations, integrity of fundamental rights and freedoms, the protection of the human being’s physical and spiritual entity and integrity, a ban on torture, a ban on forced labor, and the individual right of freedom and security.

The panel agreed on a general description of the section on fundamental rights and freedoms, and the article on individual honor. Still, there has been controversy over the wording, including whether to use old or new Turkish phrases for notions such as freedom. There are two words for freedom in Turkish, “hürriyet,” which is an older Turkish word, and the more modern “özgürlük.” The AKP and MHP are in favor of “hürriyet,” while the CHP and BDP prefer “özgürlük.”