Turkish gov't plans to abolish nearly 2,000 coup-era laws

In addition to the 1,988 laws, the government plans to abolish 222 decrees, 220 bylaws and 375 regulations.

Turkish gov't plans to abolish nearly 2,000 coup-era laws

World Bulletin / News Desk

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Mehmet Ali Şahin has announced that the government is examining all laws and other regulations approved by the junta after military coups as part of plans to abolish a total of 1,998 of all those laws.

According to Şahin, the work aims to clear Turkish legislation of the remnants of coup periods. Earlier this year, AK Party deputies with a background in law began examining laws passed by the military junta after the country's four coups, staged on May 27, 1960, March 12, 1971, Sept. 12, 1980 and Feb. 28, 1997. The laws seen to be contrary to democracy will be abolished, Şahin stated.

In addition to the 1,988 laws, the government plans to abolish 222 decrees, 220 bylaws and 375 regulations.

Şahin also commented on efforts by Parliament to draft a new constitution, complaining that the efforts have been stalled by the opposition parties. The parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission is writing a draft constitution to replace the existing one, which was implemented under martial law after the 1980 coup. The commission has members from the AK Party as well as the opposition, including the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

“It is very hard to do [finish drafting a new constitution]. The commission has not yet reached consensus [on the articles of the new constitution]. We have managed to partially finish drafting one section of the nine-section constitution. The opposition is not eager to finish the process quickly,” Şahin stated.

The existing constitution is often criticized for not being pro-freedom, and there is a huge demand by society that a new, civilian constitution be drafted to replace the existing one.

“The opposition is pursuing a strategy of extending the work on the new constitution over a long period of time. But we [the AK Party] had decided to finish the work within a certain period of time. We were planning to finish drafting the new document by the end of 2012,” Şahin added. However, it is proving almost impossible to stick to this timeline.

Speaking on a motion to divest 10 BDP deputies of their parliamentary immunity, Şahin said the BDP has ties to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and a political party cannot conduct politics if it has links to a terrorist group. “How can you work with a terrorist group that claims it is a political party?” he asked.

The issue of canceling immunity for several BDP deputies re-emerged after the release of a video showing BDP deputies and PKK militants chatting and embracing one another along a highway in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Hakkari.

An investigation was launched into the incident by prosecutors, who said the meeting appeared to have been a prescheduled one, contrary to claims by the BDP that it had happened spontaneously, when the militants blocked a road along their route. BDP deputies are subject to frequent investigations by prosecutors but, as are all deputies, are immune from prosecution while they are in office unless the General Assembly votes in favor of canceling their immunity.

A motion was prepared by the Prime Ministry to cancel the immunity of the 10 BDP deputies and has been submitted to Parliament for debate.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Kasım 2012, 17:54