Opposition reiterates backing for new charter
Göksel Bozkurt – Hüseyin Hayatsever
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) urge the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) not to interfere in the work carried out by the Constitution Conciliation Commission. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZLeaders of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have tacitly urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) not to interfere in the work carried out by the Constitution Conciliation Commission, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
“The commission should work without being affected from any outside interventions. Leaders may attempt to interfere in your job, but never mind it and do your job. This is your responsibility. You are carrying out a historic job. You should evaluate this ground,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly told commission members
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli tacitly criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for suggesting his Plan B for the constitution. “This is a historic responsibility. This environment can never be found again. You have to obtain a result in consequence of your works,” sources quoted Bahçeli as saying.
Members of the Constitution Conciliation Commission, led by Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, visited Kılıçdaroğlu, Bahçeli and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak yesterday. The commission members asked for support from the leaders during their meetings. Speaking to reporters after the meetings, Çiçek said that all opposition leaders voiced their explicit support for the new charter process and this support has made the process stronger.
During the closed-door meeting, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly reiterated his party’s proposal to amend the laws which he described as “the remaining of the coup era.” “We have to settle scores with coups by removing the laws made by those that led the coup,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. His proposals include amendments for lowering the election threshold, abolition of special authority courts and limiting lengthy pre-trial detentions. “If we are writing a new constitution why are these laws are still enforced?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked. Çiçek said that “an additional will” is needed for amending those laws.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said that they are “staying at the table despite criticism from their grassroot party.” “[Our grassroot party] is asking us ‘why are you staying at the table.’ But we believe that Turkey needs a more democratic and libertarian constitution. That’s why we will keep sitting at the table,” Kılıçdaroğl said, according to sources. He also criticized the situation of jailed lawmakers and mayors, describing the situation as “unacceptable.”
BDP co-chair Demirtaş also praised the efforts of the charter panel and said that this was an unprecedented situation for Turkey’s constitution-making process. He stressed that they are still staying at the table even though over 7,500 BDP members are jailed as part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) probe. “Thousands of BDP members have been arrested recently. Even Büşra Ersanlı, who contributed to our new charter works, is behind bars. Debating a new constitution is hard within this environment. But we have to succeed in it. If we can, this will be an historic step,” Demirtaş said.