Parties submit own Constitution drafts as gaps remain

Parties submit own Constitution drafts as gaps remain

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Parties submit own Constitution drafts as gaps remain

Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek will chair an April 8 meeting of the Constitution Conciliation Commission. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Parties submitted their drafts to the parliamentary council in charge of writing Turkey’s new Constitution on April 5, though major differences remained concerning the structure of the state and the specific language used. 

While the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party stated the language of the state was Turkish, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said Turkish was an official language, which may pave the way in the broader field for the use of and education in ethnic tongues such as Kurdish. 

Removing the description of “Atatürk nationalism” from the current Constitution, the AKP’s draft also introduces a simpler version of qualifications for the state. “The Republic of Turkey is a secular, democratic, social and rule of law republic, based on human rights,” it reads. 

The AKP’s constitutional draft contains a relatively short introduction, in which it chooses to use “the Turkish people” when describing citizenship. 

As has been discussed for months, the ruling party has also introduced a radical change to the executive system, by recommending the presidential system in its draft. The AKP’s system would allow the president to veto laws adopted by Parliament.

Reference to 1924 charter

However, in their drafts the CHP and the MHP leave the first four items of the charter almost unchanged. The CHP includes the “right to resist” and uses the term “The Turkish Republic public,” an expression taken from the 1924 charter. The party also picked the expressions of “Turkish nation” and “people living in Anatolia.”

Atilla Kart, a commission member from the CHP, said during a press meeting yesterday that his party was open to discussions as to the expression of the “official language.” The CHP draft also suggests the “right to resist against those who have lost legitimacy.” 

The BDP’s submitted draft begins with the expression, “We, the people of Turkey.” 
“The official language of the state is Turkish,” it states, adding that all citizens have the right and the responsibility to learn the official language. “Other mother tongues used by the people of Turkey can be used as a second official language, upon decisions by regional parliaments.” The current system currently has no parliaments devolved from the Grand National Assembly in Ankara. 

Faruk Bal, an MHP member of the commission, said his party’s draft stated the main principles of the Turkish republic, built by the founders of the Turkish state. 

The submitted drafts were only for the “introduction” and “main principles” sections of the Constitution.