Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said a new constitution will demonstrate what his governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) stands for Turkey, urging political parties at the Parliament to join efforts to change the current constitution.
"The new constitution will be a response to what we want to become as a country," he said during an AK Party meeting in Turkey’s western Afyon province on Saturday.
Davutoglu's remarks come amid efforts to consult with opposition party leaders to jointly draft a new constitution in order to replace the current one which was introduced after the army overthrew the elected government by a military coup on September 12, 1980.
"We will either be a country that wastes its energy on fruitless discussions or one that hopefully walks towards the future by completely setting the seal on its centennial problems," he said.
The premier sought participation from all political parties in efforts to shape Turkey's new constitution, urging them to prioritise the issue.
"All factions of society expect a new constitution from policy makers, which must be the top issue on the agenda of all political parties," he underlined.
Davutoglu stated that his party would not like the drafting of a new constitution to be discussed with "one-day policies" as he described it.
"Those who remain indifferent to it will be held responsible both before people and history. They cannot account for it if they still doom this nation to coup constitutions and coup laws," he added.
He further called all to a "sincere effort to crown the next four-year parliamentary period till 2019 with a new constitution at the earliest."
Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq
Davutoglu also touched upon the recent Turkish deployment in Iraq's Bashiqa camp near Mosul, where the stationed Turkish troops repulsed a DAESH attack late on Thursday, killing at least 18 terrorists.
"It is obvious for what Bashiqa camp was established. It was put into action as a training camp as a result of our contacts last year with the Iraqi central government and local elements in the region," he recounted.
Turkey has been running a training program at the camp to provide instruction to Iraqi army units and Peshmerga forces in order to reinforce their fight against DAESH.
On Dec. 4, Turkey reinforced the protection component of its units at the camp due to increasing security threats.
The premier noted that possible DAESH attacks and related intelligence required a consolidation of existing troops.
"Considering these risks, we have made the necessary arrangements and taken all security measures for our troops. Our armed forces are immediately responding in case of any attack, like they did yesterday," he related.
Davutoglu further reiterated that the mission of Turkish troops in Bashiqa is clear which is "to train our Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen brothers in Mosul to defend and save their own cities in line with internationally taken decisions."
"We respect Iraq's territorial integrity and sovereignty all the way. Our presence there is just to protect and support these two objectives," he added.
The deployment sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Iraq.
Following a series of bilateral talks to alleviate Iraq’s concerns, Turkey rearranged the number of its troops in Bashiqa on Dec. 14, with the additional forces having been pulled back to rear positions.
Turkey said at the time that 150 soldiers and up to 25 tanks were stationed in Bashiqa to protect Turkish servicemen training Iraqi volunteers to fight DAESH.
The training mission had been in northern Iraq since March 2015 and has not been assigned to combat duties according to Turkish authorities.