Turkish PM ‘ready for reconciliation’ on new constitution after June 7 vote

Turkish PM ‘ready for reconciliation’ on new constitution after June 7 vote

Turkish PM ‘ready for reconciliation’ on new constitution after June 7 vote

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said the government intends to soften its harsh rhetoric the day after the upcoming general election, vowing to engage in dialogue with all political parties and civil society leaders to build a “New Turkey” after the June 7 vote.

“In the end, this country belongs to all of us,” Davutoğlu said during a live interview on public broadcaster TRT late on May 27, adding that “competition” during electioneering was a “natural aspect of democracy.”

“As we are speaking about a strong ideal called ‘building the New Turkey,’ when we take office again, God willing, after the election, I will be in touch with all [parties]. I don’t regard any of them as opposition or outsiders. We are ready to talk about every issue, with the [drafting of a new] constitution in first place,” he said.

“Regardless of whether we will have a majority that could change the constitution ourselves on June 8, my call on all parties will be: ‘Come, let’s make a new constitution together,’” Davutoğlu added.

“Anyway, if a step concerning the constitution is taken then the peace process [on the Kurdish issue] would be set in a context that is also involved,” he also said, referring to the stalled process aimed at ending the three-decade conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“You make a call and the other side may come to speak with good will. But if they do not, we will not put this issue [the constitution] in the freezer. We will continue to do whatever is necessary … This is the case for the peace process too,” Davutoğlu added, 

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and its co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, have been constantly targeted for severe criticism by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) throughout the election campaign, despite being closely involved in the peace process. 

Arınç: Priority is constitution, then presidential system

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, meanwhile, said the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) priority would be to secure a sufficient number of seats at parliament to make a constitutional amendment on its own.

Arınç’s remarks, delivered during a live interview on private broadcaster Habertürk late on May 27, came in response to a question on the government’s desired shift to a presidential system.

“Our first aim is to secure the power we need to make the new constitution. When we have this [power], when we write the new constitution with at least 330 seats, then we will also answer the question ‘How can this country be better ruled?’ The presidential system,” he said.

For a constitutional change at parliament in favor of the presidential system in line with the aspirations of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, their founding leader, the ruling AKP needs 367 to win seats. If it falls short, 330 seats would be enough to take the issue to a referendum.