Turkey's AK Party says new constitution or presidential system

AK Party will not insist on making the transition if all parties agree on the other aspects of a new constitution, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has said.

Turkey's AK Party says new constitution or presidential system

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has long voiced its intention to change Turkey's parliamentary system of government into a presidential administrative structure, will not insist on making the transition if all parties agree on the other aspects of a new constitution, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has said.

Speaking to journalists about recent developments during a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday, Atalay said the parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission is working on drafting the text of the new constitution. He said for the past three electoral periods, the AK Party has promised a new and more democratic constitution to voters. “We have to make a new constitution this term. The prime minister says we have been promising a constitution for three terms. Of course, we are pushing for this,” he said.

Atalay noted that the AK Party prioritized consensus and reconciliation in the making of the new constitution, but added that if this cannot be achieved, the government party will look for “alternatives,” such as passing the new constitution with the support of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

The AK Party's ambition to switch to a presidential system has been problematic and sometimes blamed for stalling work on a new constitution.

Atalay said: “The presidential system is important. When we submitted our constitutional draft to the Reconciliation Commission, we discussed this inside the party and we decided jointly. But if a new constitution is going to be made without a presidential system, we can be flexible there. If there is going to be consensus, we can give the idea up.”

The deputy prime minister also gave information about a recent visit from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the province of Mardin and its districts.

He said the residents of the Kurdish-dominated provinces had their hopes high about the ongoing peace talks between Turkish officials and the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan. “The region's people have suffered a lot and they want normalization. The issue has ripened now and nobody can stand in the way of this. The main target is disarmament [of the PKK]. There is no diversion from that target.”

The adoption of a presidential system has been a common source of debate in Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who supports a presidential system, frequently brings the issue to public attention, and many have speculated that he hopes to become Turkey's first president under a new presidential system.

Turkey's political system is based on a separation of powers. The executive power is exercised by the government. The legislative power is vested in both the government and Parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Currently, the president is elected every five years by public vote in Turkey. Executive power rests with the prime minister and the Cabinet.

Recently, Erdoğan at a parliamentary group meeting of his party said his AK Party was going to submit its own draft constitution based on a presidential system if the members of the parliamentary commission drafting the constitution fail to reach consensus.

Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2013, 12:17
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