The mandate of the parliamentary panel tasked with rewriting the constitution should also include an overall democratization process for Turkey, two of the country’s opposition parties have said.
“The demand to redefine the mandate of the commission is our joint demand with the CHP [Republican People’s Party]. The commission should not only be tasked to re-write the constitution but to initiate a comprehensive democratization process and to become part of these efforts,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Mithat Sancar, a member of the panel, told reporters late Feb. 10.
Established by the four political parties represented in parliament, the panel held its second meeting under the chairmanship of Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman on Feb. 10. A written statement issued after the meeting said the members have continued discussions on the modalities of the panel and it will hold its third meeting on Feb. 16.
“We regard the works of this panel as a process of making the constitution. There are certain aspects of the making of a constitution. If the primary objective is to make a democratic and pro-freedom constitution, then we say that a legal and practical environment based on a democratic and pro-freedom spirit should be provided. That means this panel should serve as the forefront of the democratization process,” Sancar said.
The views of the CHP and the HDP were very close to this end, he said. “A discussion will be launched on the definition of the mandate of the panel. The title of the panel will be determined accordingly. I believe we’ll clarify this next Tuesday [Feb. 16].”
Sancar also said one issue all four parties have so far agreed was that all decisions will be taken unanimously but other technical issues were yet to be defined. The HDP’s proposal for the duration of the commission was one year, he said, adding all parties had their own proposals on this. There were reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was planning to propose Oct. 1 as the expiration date of the commission’s mandate.
The AKP, CHP, HDP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) each have three members on the panel under the chairmanship of Kahraman. A panel which had been formed in previous legislative years could only produce 60 articles toward a new charter and this commission has agreed to continue from where the previous panel left off.