Overturning the table

Overturning the table

Overturning the table in the constitutional reconciliation commission then making a call to gather around the table is a typical incident that reflects our political culture and habits.

One night we dissolved the commission, the next morning we call it to meet!

Instead of high level legal conceptual thoughts that the concept of constitution requires, it is political contentions and tactics that prevail.

When I read the minutes of the commission, I saw that deputies of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) obstructed the work of the commission while Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman said, “The commission is over,” instead of looking for a way out.

In addition to keeping the constitution’s first four amendments, CHP members put the precondition of keeping the “parliamentary system” as the essential framework.

The name of the commission and its function

First of all, the name of the commission and its task is clear. That was accepted unanimously by the participation of the CHP.

A commission to clear the constitution of regulations dating from the coup times must surely be established and in fact, all the other three parties have said so. But diversifying the task of the commission that is established for the constitution towards another area can serve no purpose but to render it dysfunctional.

CHP deputies can naturally defend the parliamentary system. I am also in favor of the parliamentary system.

But the commission should have continued its work. The CHP should have put forward its proposals and defended the ones that were in accordance with the parliamentary system like the independence of the judiciary, the powers of the executive and the legislative when time came to discuss issues about the system.

It has been wrong for the CHP to make it a precondition from the beginning.

Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman said the commission was dissolved because “there was no agreement.”
It is seen in the minutes of the commission that when Kahraman says, “This commission is over,” CHP deputies thanks him with great joy.

The members of the other three parties proposed to consult party leaders or leave the decision for the next day; that would have enabled the commission to continue its work.

The need for diplomacy

Kahraman should have applied diplomacy to enable the continuation of the commission, instead of disbanding the commission. 

He could have postponed the commission in accordance with the other three parties’ proposal; he could have decided to meet with the party leaders. He could have given some time to CHP deputies to decide whether they would continue insisting on keeping the parliamentary system as a precondition.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, it seems that he wants the continuation of the commission. Kahraman made a call yesterday to all parties for the continuation of the commission’s work. That was a good step.

I really wish the commission will continue its work. Not that I am hopeful that they can write a draft constitution with a consensus.

If they were to write new articles on certain issues, it would have been a good contribution to our legal framework.

We can consider today the 60 articles that were written in the reconciliation commission established in 2011 as a point of departure; this is not to be underestimated.

CHP deputies did not make a good start.