Constitutional guarantees more important than presidential system
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told us “Turkey should freely debate the new constitution.”
And then he told the world “Oppressive regimes do not only threaten our region but the whole world.”
He voiced the first sentence many times to us in Turkey.
He voiced the second sentence while addressing the world the other day in Chile at a United Nations conference.
Under the assurance of my country’s president’s words, I will start freely saying my views on the constitution.
But first I will say something that might disappoint both you and the president.
My problem is not presidential system. There could be presidential system or not.
But I am interested in the fundamental understanding of a constitution of the 21st century.
Three critical sentences
I am in total agreement with this first sentence that was voiced in Chile:
“Oppressive regimes that ignore its citizens’ rightful democratic demands threatens the stability not only our region but in the world.”
I also agree with this view with all my heart.
“The world where the powerful one says ‘I am right’ cannot be the world of those who want peace.”
And I give a standing ovation to this sentence:
“On the contrary, our world is the world where the right one is powerful.”
Just a small question mark
Just as I was about to put my signature under all that has been said, two small questions came to my mind:
Who is going to decide who is right?
Obviously you can understand that the most courageous and open version of this question is:
Who is going to decide whether the regime in Turkey is oppressive or not?
Of course, if the only answer to this question is “51 percent of the votes casted by the people,” then I will abstain from signing.
Then I won’t have to ask this fundamental question:
Will there be legal and constitutional limits to the power that derives from being right?
At the end of the day, I don’t care that much whether there will be a presidential system or not.
But the question regarding what institutions in the constitution will be authorized with what jurisdiction and the independence to decide who is right is much more important to me than the presidential system.
That’s why I see the words voiced in Chile as the strongest light for guiding the way to our new constitution.
Why do we continue to make love under bombardments?
I only recently had time to read the accounts of Fehmi Boyacıoğlu, who escaped the attack on the Bataclan music hall in Paris. These were the most shocking impressions written about the Bataclan.
I was tremendously moved by one sentence.
He explains his feeling of getting up from under corpses and taking a refuge in a chamber:
“We kept silent and tried to wait for them not to come.”
I know the feeling of waiting for death. But how about not waiting for death? This is one of the feelings you cannot comprehend without living it. And I was also moved when I read, “I am really sad; my heart aches; it saddens me so much that the music I loved the most was attacked...”
The thugs of our days cannot understand these words. They would say, “How can you talk about attacking music when so many people died?”
There is no hierarchy of pain. I can only be free when I can live as I feel. Our joy of life, movies, music, cats, dogs, of our life styles that we are dedicated to until the end… Not giving up on them means not giving up on ourselves.