Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 1 vowed to draft a new “civilian” constitution for Turkey after having the consensus of its nationalist ally.
“Perhaps it is time for Turkey to discuss a new constitution again,” Erdoğan said after a Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex.
“This work must be conducted in front of the people and through the participation of all of their representatives in a transparent manner, and the text that emerges must be presented to the people for their approval,” Erdoğan said, noting that he would discuss the issue with his party’s nationalist ally.
“It is clear that the source of the problem in Turkey is the constitution made by putschists since 1960,” he stated.
If the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) reaches consensus with its partner in People’s Alliance, then an “action for drafting a new constitution in upcoming period” is possible, he stated.
In parliamentary votes and elections, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) cooperates with the ruling AKP under their People’s Alliance, formed ahead of the June 2018 general elections.
The 2017 constitutional referendum asked voters to decide on an Article 18 bill to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, among other changes. The amendments to the constitution were jointly brought by the AKP and the MHP.
Turkey’s current constitution was adopted in 1982 after a referendum was held over the 1980 military coup.
Erdoğan also reiterated the government’s plans to make reform in the judiciary and economy.
“Our reform packages will be revealed soon in full detail,” he said, adding that the reforms would be carried out in the judiciary and economy.
“Whoever says that ‘There is no need for further reforms in this country” that person is unaware of Turkey and also of the society,” Erdoğan stated.
“Reform refers to a dynamic process,” he said, noting that it is the government’s duty to meet the necessities of the nation in line with the changing circumstances of the world and the country.
MHP leader lends support for new chart
Meanwhile, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli backed the proposal of Erdoğan for drafting a new constitution. “It is obvious that Turkey needs a new constitution. The goal, view and opinion of the Nationalist Movement Party are in this direction,” he said in a written statement.
“If the most important reform in the history of the Turkish Republic is the new administration system, then the new constitution is our obligation to history and the nation,” Bahçeli said.
The current constitution is the “product of extraordinary circumstances,” Bahçeli said
Although many articles have been amended over time, it is obvious that there is “no weakening of the status quo of the constitution,” Bahçeli said, referring to coups that took place in Turkey’s history.
CHP: Proposal aims to divert Turkey’s agenda
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Spokesperson Faik Öztra said on Feb. 2 that Erdoğan’s proposal aims to “change the agenda” of Turkey.
He also said that Turkey faced a coup attempt in 2016 after a change of constitution was initiated by the AKP.