Turkish President: Trial should inspire charter consensus
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsTurkey’s divided political parties should display the same unity they have shown in coming together over the trial against the surviving 1980 coup leaders for the new constitution, President Abdullah Gül said yesterday.
“The current constitution, a product of the much-criticized 1980 era, is still shaping the country and our lives. I expect all parties to display the same solidarity in making the new constitution,” Gül told reporters.
The president described the trial of coup leader Kenan Evren and then-Air Force Cmdr. Tahsin Şahinkaya as “a period for learning lessons” and voiced optimism that the case would “lead to a very important mentality change so that such attempts are not repeated in the future.”
Speeding up preparations
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek issued a similar appeal. “If on one side we prosecute those who
The current constitution, a product of the 1980 era, is still shaping our
lives. I expect all parties to display
the same solidarity in making the new constitution.
“The making of the new constitution is as important as today’s trial. We have to speed up our work,” he said, stressing that Parliament’s cross-party constitution-making commission would begin drafting a text on May 1.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ridiculed the three opposition parties in Parliament for having applied to be intervening parties in the trial, recalling that all of them refused to support the 2010 constitutional amendments that paved the way for Evren and Şahinkaya’s prosecution. “They had said we were lying to the people. They have now swallowed what they said and are lining up at the court’s door,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç hailed the trial as the indication of the progress that Turkish democracy had achieved. “No one in Turkey today can dare speak about juntas or coups. This is a stage that should go down in our history of democracy in golden letters,” he said in the southern province of Antalya.
The deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Erdoğan Toprak, warned that the drive to face up to the 1980 coup should go beyond the “symbolic” significance of Evren’s trial.
Institutions established as a result of the coup “like the Higher Education Board [YÖK] and the special-authority courts which are the copycat of the coup’s state security courts must be abolished,” he said.