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Turkish MPs disagree on issue of amending the Constitution

02 April 2010 [12:21] - TODAY.AZ
Turkish opposition MPs and experts disagree on the issue of amending the Constitution.
Turkey will not be able to go forward with the current Constitution, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"However, these changes should also be supported by the country's opposition. Political elite and public opinion in Turkey in favor of amending the Constitution. Presently, the Turkish Parliamentary special commission studies the proposal on amendment," he said.

The country's constitution needed to be changed for 27 years now, Turkish Grand Unity Party Chairman Yalcin Topcu said.

"Turkey has had to amend the Constitution around 27 years before. The current constitution was established by a military regime and one might say, protects the interests of the army," Topcu said.

So far, despite claims by the coalition governments that the Turkish Constitution protects the military, no serious steps have been taken towards changing the Basic Law.

Director of the Turkish-Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) Suleyman Sensoy believes not only individual itemsm but also the entire Constitution requires to be changed.

"The current Constitution that approved after a military coup in 1982 is based on the psychology of the Cold War," he said.

In his view, given Ankara's growing power and domination in the region, Turkey needs a new constitution. However, the ruling party that is in power for eight years has taken this step a little late, the expert added.

Topcu also regards the AKP's action to change the Constitution as belated.

MP from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Rasad Dogru, at present there is no need for such innovations.

"It would be better to amend the Constitution not in the period of the AKP, but after the parliamentary elections in 2011," Dogru said.

The ruling party must correct the mistakes made in the issues of Northern Cyprus, Iraqi Turkmens and Nagorno-Karabakh, Dogru said. In his view, the question of amending the Constitution will be put to the agenda, the AKP is trying to divert public attention from the mistakes committed by it.

Since the AKP does not have a majority (66%) of votes required to amend the Constitution, Turkish authorities stated that the bill will be put to a referendum. The changes include the extension of presidential powers, the re-nomination of a candidate to the president, whose term has expired, the implementation of the ombudsman's activity in the country and complication of the closure of political parties.

According to the Turkish Centre for International Relations and Strategic Studies (TURKSAM) director Sinan Ogan, the country needs a new constitution, but so far the changes have been made on the basis of mutual consent, except emergencies.

"It is possible that the parliament will not approve the changes to the Constitution, and a referendum will be organized," Ogan said.

According to him, it is also possible that at least 330 MPs will vote for a referendum on amending the Constitution during discussions in the Parliament. Then the question will be raised at a referendum.

"Turkish opposition does not support changes to the Constitution. A non-consensual intrusion upon the Constitution may cause some problems," Ogan said. In his view, changes in the Basic Law should be made after the parliamentary elections.

According to Sensoy, the opposition will not achieve anything, completely rejecting changes to the Constitution.

"I think it would be better if the opposition did not reject completely the proposal but worked on the removal of inappropriate items from the Constitution and making appropriate ones," he said.

If the authorities succeed in changing the Constitution, it will be their most significant success, Sensoy said.


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URL: http://www.today.az/news/regions/65272.html

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