Turkish PM wants lasting new constitution

Turkish PM wants lasting new constitution
15:07 31 Dekabr 2015
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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has stressed that Turkey's new constitution should be long-lasting, free of personal imprints and human-based, Anadolu agency reported.

"Let's draft such a constitution that will not be bound by the current conjuncture," he said in a live interview broadcast on private channel NTV late Wednesday.

His remarks came after a meeting with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu earlier in the day, in which they agreed to work together to change the country’s current constitution.

The current constitution was drafted in 1982 following a military takeover and has undergone several amendments since.

"I sincerely told him [Kilicdaroglu]: Let's not personalize it, so that it will not be based on single people like Mr. President, you, me or others. Because we will most probably not be alive 30 or 40 years from now," he said.

"It must be a constitution that can also [be relevant] at that time," he added.

The premier said they shared with CHP leader a common ground not to revise the constitution written after Sept. 12, 1980 coup d'etat, but to completely abolish it and replace it with a civilian one that is cleared of the impacts of the coup.

"We want a new constitution, an actual constitutional reform. That's what we agreed: Sept. 12 constitution will be abolished," he said.

“We hope we will make a constitution that removes the traces of coup. Can there be a greater honor than that for a statesman? Can we leave a bigger heritage than that? Let’s create an environment to make this heritage collectively,” said Davutoglu, indicating opposition parties should be included in the process.

"It will be an explicit, concise yet complete constitution that contains no restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms, without any monopolization of power," he said.

Davutoglu remarked that the backbone of the constitution was defined by the relations between institutions, and its spirit was characterized by how it regards the relation between the individual and the state.

- Presidential system

The premier also argued that the drafting of a new constitution must be followed by the "evolution of a parliamentary system into presidential system."

"I extend our offer to Mr. Kilicdaroglu. The right thing to do is to shift the political system to presidency. When we define the presidential system in line with that spirit, it will never morph into a dictatorship or authoritarianism as claimed," he said.

“We can evaluate this offer together. So if you have objections let's hear them. Let’s talk about this offer. If you have a model let’s talk about it too. But such things like ‘presidential system leads to dictatorship, presidential system will divide country with a federal structure’ are not true.”

Davutoglu also said rights of property, demonstration and freedom of the press will remain under a presidential system, similarly to the parliamentary system.

- Anti-terror operations against PKK terrorists

Davutoglu also addressed anti-terror operations against PKK terrorists in the southeast.

“Our priority now is to clear all the neighborhoods and streets of all our cities of the terrorist organization [PKK] and its terror activities. We do not believe that any talks will be beneficial without [achieving] this.”

The PKK – considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU – resumed its armed campaign in late July. Since then, more than 200 members of the security forces have been martyred and over 1,700 PKK terrorists killed.

Referring to the recent inquiry over 'autonomy' remarks by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, Davutoglu said: “No group can have a right and priority to commit a crime and support terrorism explicitly. … They [HDP officials] should keep their distance from terrorism immediately.”

He continued: “HDP should decide if it is a political party or an extension of the terror organization?”

On Monday, the Ankara prosecutor's office launched a probe against HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas over his remarks on autonomy in the southeast.

HDP called on Sunday for the formation of "democratic autonomous regions" in Turkey's southeast as one of its 14 items in the final declaration of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in Diyarbakir province.

The renewal of fighting between Turkish security forces and PKK marked the end of the fragile two-and-a-half year lull to fighting - dubbed the solution process - aimed at resolving the 30-year conflict.

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