Çiçek: Drafting of new constitution begins with fundamental rights and freedoms

(Photo: AA)

May 10, 2012, Thursday/ 17:23:00

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek announced on Thursday that the drafting process of the new constitution is beginning from the chapter on the fundamental rights and freedoms instead of the preamble of the constitution, which leads to disputes among the political parties.

“As of May 1, the [parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation] Commission has been working very busily. As of 11 a.m., we will start work on the ‘Fundamental Rights and Freedoms,' and hope to present a new constitution to our nation as a gift by the end of this year,” said Çiçek.

The parliament speaker's statements came at the closing session of the “Constitution Platform Citizen Meetings,” which have been held in Turkey over the past four months in a bid to exchange views with the public and learn their expectations from the new constitution.

The closing session of the meetings took place at the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and was attended by TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, members of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission and representatives from various nongovernmental organizations.

Delivering a speech at the event, Çiçek said the discussion process of the new constitution has been left behind and it is time to prepare and write the constitution now. He offered his thanks to everyone who contributed to the drafting process of the new constitution.

Turkey's long-awaited expectations for a new civilian constitution have become stronger than ever since the June 12, 2011 parliamentary elections. All of the parties represented in Parliament vowed to draft a new constitution to replace the existing one, which was drafted under martial law after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and has long been criticized for failing to respond to today's needs for broader rights and freedoms. The ruling party also vowed to make a new constitution after its election victory based on a broad consensus in Parliament. A commission was established in Parliament which includes representatives from all the four parties represented in Parliament to carry out the work for the drafting of the new constitution.

Speaking to reporters before the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission's meeting later in the day, Çiçek was asked whether the controversial issues in the constitution will be discussed at the end. In response, he said: “We will write everything through negotiation. You should not see a debate as a fight; everyone will present their opinions around a table. The four parties will reach consensus in the end.”

Çiçek said the commission had made a very positive and fruitful start to the new constitution, adding that reporting on the fundamental rights and freedoms chapter will be done by May 16.

He said all the political parties, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have made significant studies regarding the new constitution.

The parliament speaker added that the commission will meet next Wednesday to continue with the writing of the new constitution.

When asked whether he will reveal each article on which the commission reaches a consensus over time, Çiçek said he will do so if the commission approves of it.

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