New charter will redefine top court, judiciary, PM says
Serkan Demirtaş – AMMAN/ANKARAThe new constitution being written by the ruling party will bring about a new definition for the role of the entire judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, the Turkish prime minister has said, adding they wouldn’t allow any constitutional body to establish superiority over the will of the people.
“It should be the people that use its will. The sovereignty that is used by constitutional bodies cannot be regarded as the people’s will,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on March 27, during a meeting with journalists in Amman. Davutoğlu recalled the constitution made in the early 1960s following the coup d’état which introduced a number of constitutional bodies that imposed tutelage over democratically elected politicians.
“Of course all of these will be redefined. The judiciary will be redefined. And the legislative cannot continue in the current understanding. It should be noted that what the Constitutional Court has been doing is not using the people’s will and it should not be. Courts are to provide justice; the sovereignty, however, should be used by the freely elected representatives of the people.”
Davutoğlu’s statements came as he instructed his party to speed up efforts to draft the new constitution after a parliamentary commission formed by the four parties in parliament was dissolved. “We can’t leave this promise of ours unfulfilled just because other parties failed to do their share. People would cool to the idea of a new constitution if no concrete steps are taken,” he said.
The structure of the new constitution will be readied within a month or so, he said, hinting it wouldn’t be based on political conjuncture, as his party still needed at least 14 lawmakers to bring the new constitution to a referendum. “The new constitution will not be a product of negotiation [to get support of at least 14 lawmakers or a political party group]. It won’t be a revisionist charter either. We are aiming at a different constitution with its writing, culture, language and philosophy. We’ll continue to work until we’ll find this philosophy,” he said.
People’s psychology should be ameliorated
Another top issue Davutoğlu discussed with the reporters was the ongoing spread of fear in society in the aftermath of successive terrorist attacks targeting civilians in large cities.
“We should do everything to stop terror from imprisoning us in its own agenda. People’s psychology should be changed. Talking about terror everyday serves the interest of terror,” he stressed.
A visit to Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek after the deadly attack which killed four foreign tourists was a good example on how government members could help this change in people’s psychology, Davutoğlu said. “I told all my minister friends: It will be you who shows up first. We’ll go to shopping malls and appear within social life.”
US should be consistent
Another issue which has heavily preoccupied Turkish public opinion was the arrest of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States on the grounds he committed offenses against American interests by violating sanctions on Iran and money laundering.
Davutoğlu, in his first remarks on the issue, recalled that Zarrab’s arrest had no reflection on the concerns of Turkey so far. “We will make our position and thinking clear if the content of the case or discussions on it somehow relate to Turkey. There has been no such thing so far,” he said.
“But,” he continued, “this also comes to our minds: Why would such a meticulous justice system not bring some of our citizens of the Republic of Turkey residing in the U.S. even though they have been engaged in various plots?”
In a clear reference to self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has been probed in Turkey over charges of terrorism, Davutoğlu said: “So many investigations were launched in the past [in the U.S.] on the financial resources of this parallel structure. Where did all they go? In this regard, we would like to see a more consistent approach. We would like to see this same consistency on issues concerning money laundering.”
Davutoğlu added Turkey had nothing to refrain from in this case, “but first we have to see what is about. And then we’ll say what we think.”