Speaker warns on charter deadline

Speaker warns on charter deadline

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Speaker warns on charter deadline

Time is running out to prepare a new constitution, according to Parliament Speaker Çiçek. AFP photo

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has warned the parliamentary drive to draft a new constitution for Turkey would risk failure if the process were not completed by the end of next year.

“We have said the objective is to finish the job by the end of 2012. Every day passing after that will bring about difficulties, as we will be holding three elections within four years,” Çiçek said at a meeting with representatives of the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) yesterday.

He emphasized the importance of participation of civic society. Instead of preparing a draft and saying “we made a new constitution,” they were collecting input before even beginning the drafting process, he said. “Everyone should tell us exactly what they want.”

The parliament speaker also pointed out only two out of 165 universities had submitted their views on the new charter. “Those who say the process is taking too long should know it is not our fault. If they want to participate, they need to do it sooner rather than later, because a topic which has been on Turkey’s agenda for the past 30 years should not stay there for another 30 months.”

“We already announced our goal as 2012. We do not want to rush things but we have to be efficient with the time too. I think we have been handling the process well, despite some tension,” Çiçek said.
He later met with the newly appointed chairman of the Higher Education Board (YÖK), Gökhan Çetinsaya, who told reporters following the closed meeting that universities were preparing input for the constitution-making process and would submit them before their allotted time is up, “within the next two or three months.”