Inter-parliamentary panel on charter reform to resume work

Inter-parliamentary panel on charter reform to resume work

Inter-parliamentary panel on charter reform to resume work

AA photo

An inter-parliamentary panel composed of one deputy each from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will begin work on a new constitution on Aug. 16.

Delegations from the three parties held a preliminary meeting on Aug. 12, in order to hold talks on a “mini constitution package,” while they also delivered messages on the continuing entente among the parties in the wake of the failed July 15 coup.

In the wake of the uprising, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited the CHP and MHP to meet to discuss steps to be taken in the wake of the coup. 

But the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the country’s third largest party, was again ostracized, with the government refusing to meet with the party in the wake of the coup even though the party also opposed the putsch.

The leaders of the AKP, CHP and MHP shared the same stage for the first time at the Aug. 7 “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” in Istanbul’s Yenikapı parade grand to denounce the coup.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş was asked about the exclusion of the HDP during an interview aired on Fox TV on Aug. 14.

“As a party which has received votes from 5 million people, the HDP is a legitimate political party. This is what we have been insistently saying since June 7,” Kurtulmuş said.

In the June 7, 2015, parliamentary elections, the HDP emerged as a voice of hope for marginalized Kurds as well as left-wing voters.

After the June 7 results failed to produce a single-party government and coalition talks failed, snap elections were held on Nov. 1, 2015, bringing the AKP to power as a single-party government yet again.

“The HDP needs to remain in the legitimate realm of politics,” Kurtulmuş said, adding that the HDP should particularly “exclude the PKK [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] by saying ‘the PKK is a terror organization.’” 

“[The HDP] should meet the expectations of the people who voted for it,” said the deputy prime minister.
In an interview aired on public broadcaster TRT late on Aug. 11, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also lamented the absence of the HDP in the constitution-making process.

“Politics has a mission; politics is done in the legitimate realm, not in the illegitimate realm. The duty of politics and the duty of the CHP, the AKP and the MHP is to bring the HDP inside the legitimate realm,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Erdoğan blames U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen for orchestrating the coup attempt, which killed about 240 people. He has initiated a crackdown on Gülen’s followers within the judiciary, military and the rest of the government for alleged links to the coup plot. 

Any constitutional change requires the support of at least 367 deputies in the 550-seat assembly to pass directly. The AKP has 316 seats while the CHP has 133 lawmakers. 

Opposition parties have been wary of the AKP’s long campaign for a new constitution because Erdoğan has made transforming his office from a largely ceremonial post into an executive-style presidency a central aspect of the new charter. They worry this will concentrate too much power in his hands.