Turkey's opposition bashes PM’s ‘Plan B’ on charter-writing

Turkey's opposition bashes PM’s ‘Plan B’ on charter-writing

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys opposition bashes PM’s ‘Plan B’ on charter-writing

DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

If a cross-party effort to draft a new constitution fails to produce a consensus, the Plan B should be to go ahead with parties that can reach a compromise, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. He also insisted that the 26 articles amended during the 2010 constitutional referendum should remain unchanged.

Erdoğan’s remarks prompted angry reactions from opposition parties, who argued that the Prime Minister was imposing fiats on the work of Parliament’s Constitution Commission, despite an agreement that no pre-conditions should be put forward.

Speaking to reporters accompanying him on a trip to Iran, Erdoğan said he wanted the Commission to work non-stop on drafting the new charter. “I hope there will be a compromise. If the Commission succeeds, a very strong constitution will emerge. The 26 articles [amended at the 2010 referendum] should not be pulled back as they got popular approval a short time go. If the four parties cannot reach an agreement, Plan B will be to see what can be done with the parties that are able to agree,” he was quoted as saying.

Atilla Kart, commission member from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), raised concerns that the panel would “become meaningless” if commission members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) adopted Erdoğan’s position. “It would be impossible to continue our work,” he said, stressing that the premier’s insistence on not touching the 26 articles was “unacceptable.”

The opposition argues that the said amendments, which profoundly reshaped Turkey’s top judicial bodies and courts, have effectively placed the judicial system under government control.

“The Prime Minister’s attempt to direct the Commission from the outside, and his expectation that an agreement will not be reached can be interpreted as an attempt to prevent a consensus,” said Faruk Bal, a commission member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Sırrı Süreyya Önder from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said: “No one told us the 26 articles would be untouchable when the commission was created. Insisting on this position would endanger the initial compromise. The secret is to become partners. That is what the Constitution’s spirit requires.”
The 26 disputed amendments changed the structure of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges, which deals with judicial appointments and disciplinary issues. The CHP says the government is now able to appoint cronies at critical positions and use the courts as a tool to bully opponents.