BDP won’t object to ‘Turkishness’ in constitution, says Türk

May 21, 2013, Tuesday/ 16:55:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) politician has said the party will not object to the use of the contentious word “Turkishness” in the new constitution that is being drafted.

Ahmet Türk, who is visiting Washington, D.C., for official meetings, met with Turkish journalists on Tuesday. BDP Van deputy Nazmi Gür is also accompanying Türk on the visit.

Türk is a BDP politician, although he is currently an independent deputy from Mardin. He said on Tuesday that the BDP has no objections to the word Turk or Turkishness being used in the constitution, adding that they only wanted assurances for the free expression of other ethnic identities as well.

A contentious issue in recent debates on constitution writing has been whether the word “Turk” will be included in the new constitution. The first few provisions of the current article make references to “Turkishness” and “Turkish nation.”  In the introductory chapters of their proposed constitutions, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) uses the phrase “Turkish nation” once. The CHP also included the phrase “Turkish nation” in its draft. The Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) suggestion makes two references to the “Turkish nation” and also includes the phrases “Turkish motherland” and “Turkish citizens.” The BDP uses “the people of Turkey” in its introductory articles. But Türk said the BDP will not object to other descriptions on Tuesday.

Türk also spoke about their visit. He said they have had three meetings at the US State Department, where they came together with Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin, officials from the US State Department and White House officials.

He said US officials were supportive of Turkey’s settlement process and attached importance to it.

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