Parties agree on road map for Turkey's new charter

Parties agree on road map for Turkey's new charter

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Parties agree on road map for Turkeys new charter

Cemil Çiçek. AA photo

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek outlined the steps that will be taken to draft a new constitution during a meeting with newspapers and television stations’ editors-in-chief yesterday in Istanbul.

Çiçek said the chair of the commission would be the speaker of Parliament (Çiçek) and the commission would meet at least twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The commission will convene with at least one member from three political parties and the commission will make decisions with the consensus (unanimity) of all political parties making up the commission, Çiçek said, adding that topics where no decision is reached will be re-evaluated at a time the commission deems appropriate.

Starting Nov. 15, three committees will be created to solicit the opinions of different organizations in society, he said.

One of the committees will contact political parties and constitutional organizations, while a second will ask the opinions of professional organizations and unions. A third committee will seek advice from NGOs, foundations and religious communities.

Çiçek asked the aforementioned organizations to submit their written advice on new charter draft before the end of December. The committees will then invite representatives of the organizations for a verbal discussion of their charter proposals, he said.

“The process of drafting a new constitution is not a process of asserting one’s views on others or persuading others on the correctness of one’s ideas, but creating a social contract together,” he said.

Each political party may have a maximum of two consultants present in meetings, he said. The commission meetings will be closed to the press.

The commission aims to finish its work by the end of 2012 and the work of the commission will include four phases, he said.

The first phase consists of participation, data collecting and assessment. Determining the principles and writing the text will be in the second phase, publicizing the text and public debate will be in the third phase and reviewing the draft following input from the public and transforming it into a motion will consist of the last phrase. The first phase will be considered finished by the end of April 2012.

The draft text of the constitution, unless there is a consensus among the political parties, cannot be changed or appended either in the conciliation or legislation commissions or in the General Assembly, he said. He added that all segments of society will be encouraged to participate in the process of writing the constitution.

The commission’s task will end with the passing of the constitutional motion in the General Assembly and its passing into law or with the withdrawal – or de facto withdrawal – of one of the political parties, he said. A political party that does not attend at least three meetings will be considered to have withdrawn.