MHP approves PM’s offer to rush 48 new charter articles
‘Changing and revising the Constitution is a commitment of all parties,’ Nationalist Movement Party Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mehmet Şandır says.The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has opted in for a recent offer by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for rapid parliamentary approval of 48 articles that the Constitution Conciliation Commission managed to reach a consensus on.
With regard to the proposal that aims to pave the way for the implementation of those articles instead of holding them until finalizing a completely new draft charter, MHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mehmet Şandır stated that they had no conditions about accepting the offer, as the idea originally came from their party leader, Devlet Bahçeli.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has already given conditional support depending on the Commission’s decision, while ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy leader Hüseyin Çelik affirmed their readiness to move ahead with the prime minister’s offer. For his part, President Abdullah Gül took a cautious approach, simply expressing his hope that a new Constitution would be successfully formed.
“The MHP has no conditions, but how dare they? This proposal belongs to Mr. Devlet Bahçeli. Changing and revising the Constitution is a commitment of all parties,” Şandır said during a press conference at Parliament alongside other MHP deputies on July 12. “The society and the Parliament are waiting for a solution from the political parties. As the MHP, we are ready to put in all kinds of efforts and contributions at this point,” he said.
Motivations of AKP
However, Şandır questioned the motivations of the AKP. “The party in government is blocking the constitutional efforts with Mr. Prime Minister’s dream of the presidency and the promise of solving the Kurdish problem through the PKK’s [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] demands. We attach importance to reconciliation in the 48 articles. For them to be legislated, the MHP is ready. We expressed this path before. This offer actually belongs to Bahçeli,” he said.
In remarks published in daily Radikal on July 12, the CHP’s Kılıçdaroğlu expressed cautious support for the suggestion. “If this issue comes to the agenda there, Commission members will make the right call. Maybe they will pass it, maybe they say ‘let us work more and increase the number to 50 or 60.’ We will respect and support any decision that the Commission will take,” he said.
The AKP’s Çelik, meanwhile, voiced commitment to what Erdoğan declared. “The AKP is ready for this. Be it in August or September, whenever the Commission says it’s ready, we can pass it to the General Assembly; Parliament can be called for an emergency meeting. Even if we cannot draft a ‘zero kilometer’ Constitution, even though it would not cure all troubles, it is much better than it not being done,” he said at a press conference held on July 12, while saying they would be much happier if the Commission came up with a completely new Constitution.
On the same day in Istanbul, President Abdullah Gül took a non-revealing stance while responding to questions from reporters as he was leaving the Maslak Fatih Ormanı Mosque after Friday prayers.
“Our Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek is doing his best. I hope it will yield an outcome. Naturally, we all hope that a new Constitution will be drafted,” Gül said.