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    » 11/22/2013, 00.00

    TURKEY

    Turkey says goodbye to Erdogan's constitutional reforms

    NAT da Polis

    The commission set up to draft amendments to the constitution is set to be dissolved due to major differences among Turkish parties, especially over issues such as the recognition of Kurdish rights and the transformation of Turkey into a presidential republic.

    Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Constitution Conciliation Commission set up by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reform the Turkish Constitution failed to agree on changes to the constitution and will thus be dissolved, said Ahmed Iyiyama, a committee member for the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Now "It will be hard to draft a new constitution before new elections" in 2015, he added.

    Iyiyama's statement confirms what Grand National Assembly Speaker Cemil Cicek said last week when he expressed his willingness to dissolve the committee.

    Since 2011, the commission, in which four parties (AKP, CHP, MHP and BD) are represented, has tried to agree on changes to the constitution imposed by the military after a coup in 1980. Since it came into effect, the constitution has been changed several times.

    Prime Minister Erdogan wanted to have a new draft proposal accepted before presidential and municipal elections in March and August of next year.

    However, strong differences among the parties, especially on issues such as the recognition of the rights of the Kurdish minority and the transformation of Turkey into a presidential republic, led to a deadlock.

    A two-third majority is needed to change the current constitution. Erdogan's AKP holds only a 326 majority in the 549 parliament, not enough to change the document.

    The opposition has accused Erdogan of seeking the presidency in 2014, when for the first time Turks will directly elect their president, and of trying to impose a constitution to his liking.

    Under the current constitution, the Turkish President has mostly a ceremonial function.

    Finally, it should be noted that Erdogan, who was elected prime minister in 2003 and easily re-elected in 2007 and 2011, cannot run for office again in 2015 because of AKP internal rules, which ban more than three terms.

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    See also

    27/02/2010 TURKEY
    Pyrrhean truce between Erdogan and the Turkish army
    The Beyloz affair involves high ranking figures of the army, held responsible along with members of the judiciary and bureaucracy of the non-democratic drift in the country. With the support of some sections of the armed forces, Erdogan seems to want to change the constitution in a more democratic direction. He seeks the support of the EU.

    13/09/2010 TURKEY
    Turkey moves closer to Europe after Yes victory in referendum
    The result, more favourable than polls anticipated , shows the willingness of people to embark on a "normal" parliamentary democracy. Even some opposition supporters voted Yes. Erdogan, who sees a confirmation in the 2011elections, must now reveal his true intentions.

    13/06/2011 TURKEY
    Erdogan wins elections, but victory not as big as he hoped for
    The Justice and Development Party fails to secure the 330 seats needed to call a constitutional reform. The Republican People's Party makes gains, as the Nationalist Movement Party holds on to its core support. “The people gave us a message to build the new constitution through consensus and negotiation,” Erdogan said.

    01/06/2015 TURKEY
    Erdogan’s campaign centred on Islam and nationalism
    As head of state, he is constitutionally barred from party politics. However, he is holding rally after rally appealing to conservative Muslim voters. A video from the ruling party released to commemorate the conquest culminates with the Muslim call to prayer being recited from a minaret at Saint Sophia, which is now a museum.

    10/06/2011 TURKEY
    From Kemal Ataturk to Erdogan. Turkey votes on June 12
    It will be the most important election in modern Turkish history. Favourite: Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party which aims to reap the fruits of the changes created in the country. Polls forecast the Kemalists will be separated by about 20 percentage points. Military sees power greatly reduced.



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