Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM

Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM

Turkey ‘cannot wait forever’ for a new constitution, says Deputy PM

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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said a new draft constitution by the ruling party will likely be submitted to parliament by the end of April.

At a news conference following a cabinet meeting late on March 28, Kurtulmuş said: “This issue is not something that can wait forever. We are planning to bring our draft constitution to maturity and submit it to parliament by the end of April.”        

Calling drafting a new constitution not only the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “binding duty” but also “the most important political responsibility of all political parties in the Turkish parliament,”

Kurtulmuş reiterated his invitation to all parties to contribute to the process of writing a ”democratic, participatory and pluralistic” constitution.        

“Nobody can run away from this duty. Therefore it is essential that this duty is fulfilled all together,” he said, adding that the AKP would continue to do its part to come to an agreement with other parties, and to find “common ground.”        

A “Constitution Conciliation Committee” of 12 deputies -- three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties -- had first met on Feb. 3, howeve, it broke up on Feb. 17 over the AKP’s demand that the new charter be based on a presidential system, which no opposition party backs.

Kurtulmuş said a referendum would be in order if parliament fails to pass the draft with a supermajority of 367 out of 550 votes.        

 “If not, we will be working to get 330 votes and refer the draft to the electorate’s vote,” he said.        

There are 550 deputies in parliament, including one independent.  The AKP has 317 seats, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 133 seats.    
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have 59 and 40 seats, respectively.