Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek regrets absence of civilian Constitution

Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek regrets absence of civilian Constitution

Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek regrets absence of civilian Constitution

Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek (C) is set to start his new round of talks with political parties in the process for writing the new charter. AA photo

A day before he begins yet another round of visits with political party leaders in a bid to get the Constitution-making process moving, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek expressed a blend of sadness and resentment over the fact that the process, which had begun back in the autumn of 2011, has yet to bear fruit.

“I’ve been living the sadness of not yet being able to introduce a Constitution – despite its flaws or with its qualities – to society, saying ‘This is the crop of our farm, it is the Constitution made by the civilian politics, despite all your efforts and support,” Çiçek said on July 8 as he met with a delegation led by at Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, the president of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), who paid a courtesy visit to the former to congratulate him on his recent reelection to his current post.

Civil society

The TOBB has been a key supporter of the constitution-making process. Before beginning work on the draft May 1, 2012, Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission and prominent civil society organizations led by the TOBB toured 13 provinces around the country under the name of the “Turkey Speaks” platform to take the pulse of the nation and their expectations for the charter.

“Whatever consequence is due to me, I’m ready to take it. However, our parties should from now on be aware of this matter,” Çiçek said.

The current 1982 Constitution is a legacy of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup. It had replaced the Constitution of 1961, which also had been drafted following a military coup.

The speaker referred to his planned consecutive meetings, which will take place today, with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak and with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

“But we are not in a position to delay further,” Çiçek said, as he noted the looming nationwide elections.

Local elections will be held in March 2014 and presidential elections in August 2014. Parliamentary elections will be held in June 2015.