Turkish government announces new charter conditions

Turkish government announces new charter conditions

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish government announces new charter conditions

Charter panel led by Parliament Speaker Çiçek meets with the PM. DAILY NEWS photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced support for the efforts of a parliamentary commission tasked with preparing a new charter but insisted that 26 articles amended in a referendum two years ago remain untouched.

“We cannot not ignore the fact that those articles were approved by the majority of people,” Erdoğan reportedly told members of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission yesterday during the meeting.

Erdoğan said consensus should be the basis of the new charter – a statement that was echoed by Atilla Kart, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker who said the consensus should be as broad as possible, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Referring to the referendum on Sept. 12, 2010, Kart said the amendment received the support of 58 percent of the Turkish people. “It does not matter if it was 68 percent or more, efforts for a new charter should not lead to polarization in the public,” Kart said.

But Erdoğan said the amendments approved in the referendum, including the reshaping of the judiciary, were not a subject of debate.

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek and the commission members paid their visit to Erdoğan as part of their program to visit party leaders. The group, which visited President Abdullah Gül on June 11, will visit CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Peace and Democracy Party leader Selahattin Demirtaş and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on June 18.

Besides insisting on not revising the Sept. 12 referendum amendments, Erdoğan was supportive and encouraging.

“I value your efforts,” the prime minister told his visitors. “You should not let intra-commission debates affect your work. Your job is not easy, do whatever you think is right.”

The prime minister said “leaving the table” was not an option. The new constitution should “be based on human dignity, put the state in the service of the individual and embrace all 75 million [Turkish citizens],” Erdoğan said.

Çiçek said during the meeting that the commission members were working in harmony and that six chapters had already been completed.

BDP lawmaker Sırrı Süreyya Önder said the government should ensure a “suitable climate” for the writing of the new constitution. He also advised Erdoğan to read reports sent to the commission.
“For example, 72 of 169 universities support education in [citizens’] mother tongue,” said Önder.