Speaking following a meeting in Brussels between representatives of several political groups in the European Parliament, chief EU negotiator Egemen Bağış and Oomen-Ruijten, the EU rapporteur commented: “I was very pleased [to hear news of the] constitutional amendment package. I don’t want to go into detail regarding its content; the content should be debated by all of the political parties in Turkey. I hope that not just the AK Party but that the opposition parties also do their best to prepare their own proposal packages.”
The EP’s Christian Democrat Turkey rapporteur, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, once again reiterated her well-known support for further democratization in Turkey and praised the government’s initiative to come up with a constitutional reform package
The politician said that Turkish constitutional reform would definitely exert a positive effect on Turkey’s relations with the European Union. “If Turkey wants to be a modern and prosperous country, then it is mandatory for it to carry out such reforms. But this can and must be done together with the opposition parties. … There must be cooperation over the package’s content,” she said, adding that as part of any changes, it must be ensured that the judiciary is both independent and unbiased.
Bağış emphasized in his own remarks to the press after the gathering in Brussels that Turkey “is not a country that can become an EU member with a military constitution.” He said he did not believe it to be mere coincidence that since 1960 Turkey has been administered under military-drafted constitutions and since the same time has been unsuccessful in negotiations for EU membership. “It’s high time for Turkey to come together with a constitution that all of its citizens will be able to call their own and that embraces all of its citizens,” he said.
Bağış also remarked on his party’s intentions to seek the input of opposition parties, saying: “This draft is not a sacred text; of course it’s open to differing opinions and ideas. We hope the opposition parties will forward their own constitutional packages that include their own hopes for and vision of Turkey, and begin a negotiation process. We are ready to reach an accord with them and hear their ideas.” In the event that the opposition is willing to work in collaboration on the constitutional issue, the AK Party is open to all sorts of recommendations to ensure that through the amendment process Turkey will emerge more transparent, more democratic and more prosperous, Bağış said.
The minister also commented on the hot-button issue of judicial reform, saying that all political parties in Turkey want an independent and unbiased judiciary and shared the view that judicial reform was a necessity. The AK Party aims to reform the judiciary through a significant portion of the constitutional amendment package, he said.