Erdogan at Turkey's Grand National Assembly
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have agreed on the country's new constitution draft bill and today presented it to Parliament.
Initial reports suggest the new constitution, which was dubbed the 'Executive Presidential Constitution' because of the systemic change it proposes to transfer power to current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, does not offer any solutions to the issues that have plagued Turkey since its foundation.
In a press conference today MHP MP Mehmet Parsak and AKP deputy Abdulhamit Gül made statements about the new bill formed of 21 articles.
Commenting on the change the ultra nationalist party MHP's MP Parsak said, "Our constitution is a Turkish constitution. We are not proposing the removal of the term 'Turk' from anywhere in the constitution, this is not up for discussion. Furthermore the first 4 articles are also not up for discussion."
The first 4 articles of the constitution relate to state's form of government, it's adherence to nationalism and Turkey's founder Ataturk, the state's unity and language and that the first 3 articles cannot be changed.
The new constitution also proposes the abolition of the Prime Ministerial position and the transfer of executive power to the President, who will assign himself two deputies.
The power to declare state-of-emergency will be also be handed over to the President, as well the authority to introduce decree laws. The package also proposes that the President will be able to retain links to the political party he or she is a member of.
Commentators have said the new constitution will mean an indefinite state of emergency in the country and a one-man rule. In a recent speech President Erdogan equated the 'presidential system' with the future of Turkey and said that without a change the country would be divided.
The new bill has also met with early criticism because it does not address any of the Turkey's chronic issues, such as the Kurdish question and the rights of other religious and ethnic groups. The new constitution also foresees a centralisation of power rather than the devolution of it, which was proposed by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to resolve the Kurdish issue.
The draft constitution will need to get more than 367 votes in Parliament to pass directly without the need for a referendum. However, the AKP has said it will hold a referendum even if this is case. The change to the constitution requires a 50 percent vote in favor in a referendum.
The AKP has 316 seats while the MHP has 40 lawmakers in parliament; both parties back the bill.
Although it is certain that the HDP will reject the bill, the main opposition Republic People's Party (CHP) may be divided on the matter.
Source: Agencies, Kurdishquestion.com
- Kurdish Question
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