Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek urges parties to review their 'red lines'

Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek urges parties to review their 'red lines'

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek urges parties to review their red lines

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek addresses reporters after completing his round of talks with political party leaders on the new Constitution. Fundamental rights and freedoms have 'nothing to do with' the presidential or parliamentary system, he says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek’s round of talks with political party leaders yielded the decision to continue Constitution-making efforts through Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission, with Çiçek warning those negotiating of the urgent need to review their “red lines” about the content of the new charter.

His remarks came at a press conference held yesterday following a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The day before, he had held separate meetings with the leaders of the other three political parties represented at the commission: main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairs Gültan Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş.

In defiance of what the opposition parties have constantly argued, Çiçek made clear that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presidential system proposal could not be labeled as the sole reason for the stagnation in the process.

“Fundamental rights and freedoms have nothing to do with the system. Freedom of expression exists both in a presidential system and a parliamentary system,” Çiçek said.

“Fundamental rights and freedoms, freedom of religion and conscience exist in both,” he said, adding that this only affected the relationship between legislation and execution and had the impact of a psychological debate.

According to Çiçek, for instance, the issue of deputies currently under arrest had nothing to do with the system. “Legislation exists both in the parliamentary system and the presidential system. If some work or proceeding will be done, the method has nothing to do with the system,” he said.

Individuals may have excuses for not regularly attending the meetings of the Commission, but political parties cannot have any such excuses, Çiçek said, while urging all parties to act in a disciplined way in the Commission, which will resume today [July 11] from where it had left off.

Admitted in Çiçek's comments was the fact that Erdoğan had given up his persistence that the Commission’s work should end when Parliament enters summer recess. There will be no vacation or recess for the Commission, Çiçek underlined, warning that he would be holding another round of talks with political party leaders in the event of a new problematic situation arising within the process.

Although during the July 10 press conference he shied away from portraying the AKP as a scapegoat, during his meeting with Bahçeli on July 9, Çiçek had particularly noted that the AKP’s presidential system proposal was blocking the debate on 41 articles in total, while 19 articles had been written with reservations from the AKP, sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.