New charter works at dead end: NGOs

New charter works at dead end: NGOs

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
New charter works at dead end: NGOs

The Balance and Inspection Network, which brings together 76 local, national organizations and has the potential of reaching 10 million people, is not happy with the pace of the preparations for a new constitution. DAILY NEWS photo

The Turkish Parliament’s drafting of a new Constitution has come to a deadlock, with the deputies
tasked with writing the new charter acknowledging that they are far away from a compromise, according to an academic speaking on behalf of 76 NGOs.

The Balance and Inspection Network (Denge ve Denetleme Ağı), an umbrella organization for 76 local and national organizations, issued a declaration yesterday in Istanbul calling on Parliament to revive the process on the basis of strengthening the principle of the separation of powers and emphasizing “the desperate state of the constitutional commission.”

“[Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair] Mehmet Ali Şahin told me the percentage of issues on which compromise has been reached in the commission was only 20,” spokesman Fuat Keyman told the Hürriyet Daily News after the press meeting, adding that Şahin said some articles would not be accepted by the AKP.

Keyman said a committee from the Balance and Inspection Network had conducted various meetings with commission members last week to convey civil society’s expectations from the legislature and the commission but noted that the body had become inoperable. “We visited all parties in the commission; there is a serious crisis. The parties have agreed to disagree. The AKP plans to leave the table for playing ‘the presidency system card’ in March 2013,” Keyman said.

According to Keyman, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) group in the commission was already divided itself, while the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members had been excluded from all sides. “Nevertheless, the CHP, the BDP and the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] are bent on maintaining the commission’s work until March. To be realistic, I must say the Constitution-writing time [will run out] at the end of January 2013, since the AKP is keen on [implementing] a presidential system,” Keyman said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently called on the Turkish public to consider moving to a presidential form of government. Keyman said the AKP’s strategy was to use this deadlock as an excuse to create a debate over the system of government and impose a presidential system on Turkey.

The Balance and Inspection Network is composed of 76 local, national organizations and has the potential of reaching 10 million people, according to its officials.