‘Legal shield’ for input in charter works rejected
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Members of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission listen to the proposals of Proffessor Sacit Adalı (R), dean of Turgut Özal University’s law school, on charter.
A Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has suggested a legal arrangement to shield people against prosecution for voicing controversial proposals at the constitution-making commission, but the idea has been rejected after failing to garner support from fellow AKP lawmakers.
The Hürriyet Daily News has learned Ahmet İyimaya, an AKP member of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission, floated the idea on grounds that “certain views could be prosecuted for being unconstitutional” and stressed that “citizens, NGOs, lawyers, foundations, associations, labor unions, universities and political parties who voice opinions on the new constitution should not feel under pressure.”
The idea was rejected by other AKP members, even though their colleagues from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lent support. Representatives of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were lukewarm.
“Such an arrangement is necessary, a provisional constitutional article or a law to guarantee that individuals and institutions are not held responsible and are not prosecuted. But we could not overcome the AKP barrier,” the CHP’s Atilla Kart told the Daily News. Prosecutors could one day launch investigations into some of those who have provided input deemed a breach of the constitution, he said.
Yesterday, representatives of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, founded by influential preacher Fethullah Gülen, appeared at the commission to offer its proposals. The foundation stressed the need for “constitutional citizenship” with no reference to ethnic identity and suggested Kurdish could be used as second education language at schools upon sufficient demand from parents. It said the Directorate of Religious Affairs should become autonomous in the form of a public-benefit foundation embracing all religions and sects in Turkey and the rights of non-Muslim communities should be expanded in line with international standards. It also suggested that parents should decide whether and which religious classes their children attend. The foundation advocated greater powers for local administrations.
Umut (Hope) Foundation, a leading campaigner against firearms, also made a presentation, calling for a provision to tightly limit individual gun ownership.