World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish government said on Monday that the government was seeking for a compromise for the constitutional amendment bill.
AK Party announced on Monday a constitutional bill, proposing amendments to 22 articles and abolishment of the Article 15 of the constitution.
However, the opposition accuses it of trying to take the judiciary under control.
Briefing the representatives of media organizations on Constitutional amendment package which was submitted to the political parties, Anadolu news agency reported, "Turkish State Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said everybody wanted 1982 Constitution to be amended."
"It is no more appropriate to the priorities of Turkey. We say Turkey can not proceed on its way with the current constitution. The government will continue to exert efforts to reach an agreement on the amendment package," Cicek said.
He said, "1982 Constitution gives priority to security. It should include both the security and freedom. It is not possible for us to make a deep-rooted public reform or personnel reform. Everybody says constitutional amendment is a need but it can not be amended."
Cicek said Justice & Development (AK) Party government was preparing the new constitution by getting the views of everybody.
Cicek said the new Constitutional package would lessen number of cases filed at European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and indicated that Turkey's democratic standards would be upgraded.
Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin also said Monday that government would push for consensus in parliament on its constitutional amendment package till the last minute.
Ergin told reporters following the Central Executive Board meeting of AK Party that talks with opposition parties were going on in a positive atmosphere, refusing to get into specifics.
Responding to a remark by a reporter saying that main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and second opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were not sympathetic to the constitutional amendment bill, Ergin said they would push for consensus till the last minute.
The main secularist opposition Republican People's Party says it will only support the abolishment of the provisional article 15, if the government brings it separately to parliament floor, refusing to support the whole bill.
Second opposition Nationalist Movement Party said earlier that the government was "attempting to politicise the judiciary and subordinate the judiciary to the executive branch".
The government bill foresees amendments to 22 articles of the Constitution, including the articles 10, 20, 23, 41, 53, 69, 74, 84, 94, 125, 128, 129, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 156 and 159.
The bill among other things aims to bring the right to collective bargaining for Civil servants and the other public workers and tie closure of political parties to permission of a parliamentary committee, which is currently only under the authority of the Constitutional Court.
The government bill which aims to abolish the provisional article 15 of the constitution which prevents trial of Generals who led the coup on September 12, 1980.
The bill also aims to enable trial of military personnel at civilian courts on charges of crimes they commit against security of the state and the constitutional order.
The bill wants to increase the number of members of the Constitutional Court to 19, also bringing arrangements to allow the parliament to elect members to the court.
The bill also paves the way for appeals to the decisions of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) at courts, which are currently outside of judiciary supervision.
The bill envisions abolishing the provisional article 15 of the constitution which does not allow trial of the members of the Council of National Security formed after the military intervention on September 12, 1980.
The mentioned articles regulate equality before the law; privacy of individual life; freedom of residence and movement; protection of the family; right to collective bargaining; principles to be observed by political parties; right to petition; loss of membership of a deputy; bureau of the assembly of the Turkish parliament; recourse to judicial review, general principles regarding provisions relating to public servants; duties and responsibilities, and guarantees during disciplinary proceedings regarding public servants; supervision of judges and public prosecutors; military justice; the organization of the Constitutional Court; termination of membership of Constitutional Court; functions and powers of the Constitutional Court; functioning and trial procedure of the Constitutional Court; military high court of appeals; and Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors.
The constitutional amendment package prepared by the government includes the right to collective bargaining for civil servants.
Under the package, Article 53 of the Constitution regarding general principles regarding provisions relating to public servants; duties and responsibilities will be amended. Civil servants and the other public workers will be given the right to collective bargaining.
The package also includes an amendment to Article 69 about the political parties. Accordingly, the Council of State will carry out financial inspection of political parties.
Closure cases against political parties will be filed after getting permission of a parliamentary committee to be formed by five members of each parties having seats at the parliament. Majority of two thirds of the committee members will be required. The decision of the committee will be exempt from judicial inspection.
Also, political parties will be banned from politics for three years. Currently, this period is five years.
According to the bill, military personnel can be tried by civilian courts on charges of crimes they commit against security of the state and the constitutional order.
Civilians can be tried by military courts only during war time.
The bill says the Constitutional Court of Turkey will be comprised of 19 permanent members, and the Turkish parliament shall elect members to the court.
Actually, the court consists of 11 permanent and four associate members.
Also, lawsuits can be filed against the decisions of the Supreme Military Council (YAS).
According to the bill, the Constitutional Court cannot end deputyships in political party closure cases.
According to the bill, the structure of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) will change.
The permanent members of the board will climb to 21 from 7, and the number of its associate members will rise to 10 from 5. They will be elected for four years, and can be re-elected after their terms in office end.
The decision of the High Tribunal can be re-tried under the bill.
The bill limits the term in office of members of the Constitutional Court with 12 years. A person cannot be elected as the court member twice. If a member exceeds the life limit before his/her term in office ends, s/he will retire.
The bill envisages votes of two-thirds of members of the Constitutional Court in political party closure cases and/or depriving a party of state assistance.
Also, the bill adds three provisional articles to the Constitution, one of which makes the amendments to the structure of Constitutional Court also valid in ongoing cases.
The actual associate members of the Constitutional Court will become permanent members.
If the bill is to be put to referendum, it will be voted as a whole.
Turkish govt seeks consensus for reforms, opposition reluctant
Turkish government said that the government was seeking for a compromise for the constitutional amendment bill.
World Bulletin / News Desk