The article inserted in the section on fundamental rights and freedoms in the constitution bears the title, “Human honor and dignity.” Under this article, the honor and dignity of an individual is considered as part of being a human in accordance with the universal human rights approach. What is new in this article? The philosophy of the current constitution is based on the assumption that these rights are recognized and protected by the state. This means that the new article reverses the relationship between human rights and the state. The change should be viewed as a crucial start because the remaining parts will be based on this philosophy and approach.
The parliamentary commission has been working as scheduled. The start of drafting the articles led to additional discussions and raised further interest in the matter. The people are, however, ambivalent and between hope and hopelessness. The commission is the most critical part in making a new constitution; and it has done a great job so far. The success of the commission could be attributed to the presence of a ground for discussion and dialogue. A number of reasons could be cited in respect to hope for a new constitution given the progress made so far in this matter.
The constitution should be a win-win option for the political parties. The making of a new constitution in replacement of the one drafted in 1982 will improve the prestige and image of the parties. Will all parties gain equally out of the process? It is hard to tell, but it is also obvious that those who block the process would lose a lot.
If it fails to make a new constitution, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) may lose some of the advantages that it has made over the last decade. To ensure that the current political change becomes permanent and sustainable in Turkey, a new constitution is essential. And the AK Party holds the greatest share of responsibility.
For the Republican People’s Party (CHP), resistance against making a new constitution would mean that it will not be able to overcome the current conundrum. Support for a new constitution will enable the CHP to get rid of its baggage and to adopt a leftist discourse and approach. The worst case scenario for the CHP is its emergence as a party that prevents the making of a new constitution.
As for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), this party is responsible to ensure that the state preserves its traditional privileges and powers in the new constitution. A constitution that the MHP does not approve can be still made; however, a constitution that the MHP contributes to will be viewed as a strong assurance for the integrity and unity of the state.
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is, on the other hand, in a critical state of affairs. The BDP is a political party that the Kurdish problem has created. The solution of the Kurdish issue depends on the new constitution. And besides, the making of a new constitution also depends on the solution of the Kurdish issue. In this case, the BDP has to make some contributions that would help solve the problem and be involved in the making of a new constitution that could solve the problem.
The main factor that would determine the attitudes of all these actors is popular expectations. The people expect greater consensus and a new constitution. Both expectations overlap and reinforce each other. A new constitution to promote consensus; and consensus to make a constitution… The political parties feel this pressure from the people. The common denominator of the different expectations based on diverse experiences is consensus and attainment of peace. This popular pressure rules out political competition between the political parties over making a new constitution.
Agreement on human dignity is an important step forward. Human dignity serves as the common denominator of consensus; for this reason, human dignity becomes the reason why the constitutional institutions and the state exist. The making of a constitution focused on human dignity through democratic discussions depends on proper methods and attempts. This great progress made during the drafting of the constitution should be considered carefully. This means that the process will become fruitful.