Davutoğlu: AKP needs support for constitutional change

Davutoğlu: AKP needs support for constitutional change

Davutoğlu: AKP needs support for constitutional change

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu answering questions at Ankara Esenboğa Airport before leaving for Turkish Cyprus. AA Photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would seek to make changes to the constitution with consensus even if they had the power to alter the document on their own, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.

Davutoğlu recalled that the now-dissolved Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Committee, which was tasked with drafting the country’s first civilian constitution, was officially dissolved in late 2013 after nearly two years of futile work.

However, this does not mean that the method was wrong, Davutoğlu said in a live interview on the Habertürk television channel late on Dec. 1.

“Firstly, I want to meet with party leaders. If there is ‘a specific method’ which they address, then we would try that because we don’t have the power to change the constitution on our own. Even if we had, I would consider the reflection of everybody’s conviction on that constitution both ethically and politically,” Davutoğlu said.

Constitutions should be drafted in line with the broadest consensus possible, he said, adding that parliamentary agreement would not be sufficient and that the consent of civil society should be sought to broaden the basis of the consensus.

In the Nov. 1 snap elections, the AKP secured 317 seats in the 550-member parliament. For a constitutional change in parliament, the AKP needed to win 367 seats, though 330 seats would be enough to take the issue to a referendum.

Through the redrafting of the constitution, the AKP hopes to change the country’s administrative system to an executive presidential system, though all opposition parties are fiercely opposed to this ambition.