World Bulletin / News Desk
The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have demanded some restrictions on freedom of worship in the new constitution, saying that freedom of worship should be enjoyed only so far as it does not threaten public order and morals.Following a 21-day break, the parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission gathered on Wednesday to continue the work of drafting the new constitution.
During Wednesday's meeting, the CHP and MHP voiced proposals regarding the chapter on basic rights and freedoms.
The CHP suggested that the article in the current Constitution reading: “Everyone has the freedom to exhibit their religion or faith and work to disseminate them. Prayers, religious rituals and ceremonies are free,” should be followed by a sentence reading, “These freedoms may be restricted to protect public order, the general well-being and rights and freedoms of others.” The CHP's proposal has raised concerns that a person's freedom of worship could be curtailed under the new constitution.
The MHP shares the same view as the CHP and is calling for some restrictions on the freedom of worship in the draft.
The CHP is also requesting the inclusion of a reference to atheists in the constitution, proposing, “Everyone has the freedom to choose or change their religion or faith, or choose not to have any religion or faith.”
The main opposition party also proposes that the Religious Affairs Directorate should not be abolished, but rather should work in line with the principles of secularism and represent different religions and faiths in society.
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy Mustafa Şentop, speaking to reporters ahead of Wednesday's meeting, said a new constitution is a must for Turkey.
“It is not easy to write a new constitution. We must also place limitations on some articles,” he said.
One of the most hotly debated issues in the drafting process has been a person's right to be educated in their mother tongue, a proposal strongly supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
The BDP is calling for the inclusion of an article in the new constitution reading, “On condition that the official language of the country is taught and learned, everyone has the right to receive education in their mother tongue.”
The AK Party has not commented on this issue during the drafting process. The CHP says that while the language of education is Turkish, the state should take the necessary measures to enable people to receive education in their mother tongue.
The MHP agrees that Turkish is the language of education, and opposes access to education in languages other than Turkish.
As it begins to draft the text of the new constitution, the commission is adhering to a four-phase process. The first phase was to collect and evaluate necessary data, which ended on Dec. 31, 2011, when the commission finished compiling feedback from the public and relevant institutions.
Completion of the draft is scheduled for the end of the year, and it will be opened to public discussion in 2013. Following this step, the finalized proposal will be ready to present to Parliament. The new constitution will be composed of several sections, including basic rights and freedoms, legislation, executive and judiciary, economic and social provisions, general provisions, basic provisions and temporary provisions.
Binali Yildirim says ruling party’s most important task is to usher in presidential system
Fiirst-ever World Humanitarian Summit organized by the United Nations in Istanbul dominated Tuesday's headlines
Binali Yildirim meets Turkish President Erdogan to submit the new government list
Foreign minister and European Commission VP exchange views over the phone on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in Schengen
'Turkey is one of the countries - with its open-door policy - from which Europe should take lessons,' says Guy Ryder
'We must do everything that we can to continue to discuss as it is likely that by July 1 certain things will not be put in place, in other words the visa exemption (will not be granted) as some conditions will not have been fulfilled,' German chancellor says
In air operation in northern Iraq early Monday, Turkish Air Forces destroy weapon caches, shelters, camps
Turkish president deems current humanitarian system 'inadequate for solving urgent problems'
Tuesday’s papers cover extraordinary congress where Turkey’s ruling AK Party elects new party chairman
At least 125 United Nations member states gather in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday to address intl humanitarian concerns
Sirnak’s central Geylani Mosque has been bombed by PKK terrorists, leaving several Quran copies burnt and torn
President Erdogan asks new leader of ruling AK Party Binali Yildirim to form government
Binali Yildirim elected as AKP's new chairman, who is now set to replace Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister
Airstrikes in northern Iraq's Qandil and Metina regions Thursday also destroyed terrorist PKK shelters
Security forces seize bomb-laden vehicle in SE Turkey
'A happy Laylat al Bara’at to our honorable nation, to our kin abroad, and to the whole world of Islam,' says Mehmet Gormez