Presidential system to come with a ‘motion’?

Presidential system to come with a ‘motion’?

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Presidential system to come with a ‘motion’

CHP’s Kart says the AKP can make changes with motions by using its number. AA photo

The Parliament Constitution Conciliation Commission is demonstrating a “reconciliatory” stand beyond expectations. Almost for seven months, 12 deputies from four parties have succeeded in agreeing on over 15 articles in general (with minor and major parentheses) in the “Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” chapter. Even though small crises erupted from time to time, the commission is proceeding in an extremely successful way on its target to complete the new constitution before the new year.

Except for the red lines on a few essential topics such as a presidential system, the Kurdish issue and secularism, the impression is gradually strengthening that the new constitution will be drafted to a great extent without anyone leaving the table.

The question is what will happen when it comes to the red lines? For example, what will the opposition do if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) brings the presidential system to the table in a few months when the relevant article is being drafted? If main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) oppose it, would the AKP say, “We want this but because there is no consensus, we give up?” Or will they resist and if necessary leave the table to search for a dual alliance?

A very important dialogue occurred the other day that had clues to the answers to all these questions. This dialogue, which happened when members of the commission visited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, escaped attention but it did possess clues to the fate of the new constitution in the future. Commission member from the CHP Atilla Kart asked the prime minister at his office in Parliament, “We have an impression that the consensus in the commission can change. Can we hear these words from you that the ‘will of the commission is essential?’” Prime Minister Erdoğan could not directly say “the will of the commission is essential.” Instead of that, the prime minister said this interesting and meaningful sentence: “We cannot say such a thing, because, if we do, then we would be surpassing the will of the general assembly of the Parliament. That would not be correct.”

After saying this, Erdoğan referred to the 26 articles the AKP had changed in the Sept. 12 referendum saying, “It is also impossible to disregard the articles that were accepted in the referendum,” strengthening his previous stance.

What did Erdoğan want to say? Did he imply that, if necessary, the consensus would be broken at the general assembly? For example, if there is no consensus on the presidential system, would the AKP make a change, out of the consensus, with a proposal based on its power of the majority of seats, by making alliances with another party or some deputies? Would they assemble the presidential system in the new constitution with a last minute motion at the general assembly with the argument that it would be voted on in a referendum anyway?

I asked Atilla Kart, one of the sides in this dialogue, his impressions. Kart thinks this is exactly what will happen. He said: “The prime minister said a text that has been accepted at the commission could be changed at the general assembly. He supports this argument with the implication, ‘Even if there is a consensus, the will of the general assembly cannot be surpassed.’ The meaning is very obvious. The AKP, by emphasizing the “it will be voted on in the referendum anyway’ approach, can make changes with motions by using its numerical majority. Even though the AKP members of the commission reject this, it is still a stance that jeopardizes the aptness of the consensus reached.”

The majority of the commission’s non-AKP members, just like Kart, believe “the AKP could be doing the changes it wants with last minute motions.”

Whether or not the AKP would break the consensus with last minute motions, we do not know yet; but what has been experienced up to now shows that the future of the new constitution drafted in the heat of the summer is quite open to surprises and to hotter days.

Is the BDP going in a break up perıod?

Is the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) breaking up? Is the party administration changing? Has the cleanup process started? Different views are present in BDP corridors. The rumors coming from northern Iraq are not confirmed. The BDP held its congress on Sept. 4, 2011. The nearest date for a congress is September 2013.

Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak are two names who have the approval of both the grassroots and İmralı (island). Up until today, they have worked in harmony with İmralı-Kandil-Diyarbakır; they did not go counter. Moderate names such as Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana and Aysel Tuğluk are banned from politics until Dec. 31, 2014. Because of these reasons, there are no expectations that the Demirtaş-Kışanak duo will not head the BDP next year.

Rumors spread for an Uludere report 

Rumors that the United States had submitted a special Uludere report to NATO about the incident, in which 34 villagers died when accidentally bombed by warplanes, were brought up in Parliament’s Uludere Research Commission. Members from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) suggested that the topic had been brought to light and if there was such a report, that it had been requested from NATO. The commission decided to contact the Foreign Ministry and ask whether such a report existed according to international law and diplomatic practice and whether such a report was regarded as “secret” under NATO rules. The tendency at the commission is to describe the guilty parties without mentioning names and provide that prosecutors make a move on the topic.