President Abdullah Gül: New constitution should embrace entire society

June 12, 2012, Tuesday/ 15:44:00

President Abdullah Gül on Monday said the country's new constitution should not be the work of a single party and that it should embrace all segments of society.

Gül's remarks came during a meeting with members of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission, who briefed him about the ongoing work on the constitution.

“There is no reason for the incumbent Parliament not to write the new constitution. The constitution should not be a text that is the work of a single party, it should be a text that will embrace the entire society,” Gül told members of the commission.

Turkey's expectations for a long-awaited new civilian constitution became stronger than ever after the June 12, 2011 parliamentary elections. All parties represented in Parliament vowed to draft a new constitution to replace the existing one, which was written under martial law after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and has long been criticized for failing to respond to today's need for expanded rights and freedoms. The ruling party vowed to draft a new constitution after its election victory based on a broad consensus in Parliament. A commission was established to carry out the work of drafting the constitution including representatives from all four parties represented in Parliament. Last month the drafting process began with the subject of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

He noted that it is the first time there has been such extensive support for the new constitution and that everyone can take part in the process.

Gül said Turkish society has sufficient self-confidence to prepare a new constitution.

The commission members who visited Gül were led by Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek. Çiçek said they visited the president and have plans to visit party leaders in order to inform them about the preparation process of the new constitution, exchange views and ask for their support on the process.

“Since Oct. 19, we have been holding meetings with citizens in every part of Turkey to listen to their expectations and views about the new constitution,” said Çiçek, voicing his gratitude for the contribution of all to the drafting process.

He said Gül is very hopeful about the ongoing work on the new constitution, which he is following very closely.

In the meantime, members of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission visited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday to inform him about the preparation process.

The meeting, which took place at Erdoğan's office in Parliament, lasted an hour.

In an earlier speech, Erdoğan said his government is determined to work for the preparation of the new constitution and that it will not allow any deadlocking of the drafting process.

The members of the commission will also pay visits to Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş on June 18.

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