Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus called on all political parties, inviting them to contribute in the process of writing the country’s new constitution on Monday.
The Turkish parliamentary committee tasked with planning the new constitution broke up on Feb. 17 after opposition party members walked out of it amid disagreement over the presidential system, which was proposed by the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party.
Addressing a news conference following a Cabinet meeting chaired by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara on Monday, Kurtulmus said, “We want everyone to sincerely contribute to the process of writing a new constitution. As AK Party, we will be contributing to the process till the end.”
Noting the necessity of writing a new constitution that is “civilian, democratic and participatory”, the minister said that discussions on the subject were not new, and actually went back to “the days following the adoption of the 82 Constitution after the 1980 coup”.
“It is not okay to act as if this is the first time Turkey is discussing a new constitution. If this parliament does not make a new constitution, then it will have done nothing no matter what legislative activities it is engaged in,” Kurtulmus said.
“Let me be very clear. Whoever runs away from this process will be called a truant. Therefore, we sincerely request and wish that all parties sincerely contribute to the process of drafting a new constitution.”
The Constitution Conciliation Committee of 12 deputies, three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties, had first met on Feb. 3 in a bid to redraw the current constitution, which dates back in parts to Turkey’s military regime of the 1980s.
Following the dissolution two weeks later, AK Party Deputy Chairman Omer Celik accused the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of sabotaging the process to draft a new charter, while Garo Paylan from the Peoples’ Democratic Party said the three opposition parties in the committee defended the parliamentary system, which the AK Party wants to swap for a presidential model.