Turkey, Politics

Turkish president says opposition seeks to change Constitution's immutable clauses

Main opposition party seeks to change articles laying out country's basic principles, says President Erdogan

Emin Avundukluoglu   | 06.10.2021
Turkish president says opposition seeks to change Constitution's immutable clauses


Turkey's president on Wednesday accused the country's main opposition party of intending to change the Constitution's first four articles, which are irrevocable and immutable.

"We're talking about a new Constitution, and some people are coming out and trying to wink at the political structure under the control of the PKK (terrorist group), saying: 'If necessary, we'll change the first four articles (of the Constitution)'," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group.

Erdogan claimed that the Republican People's Party (CHP) sought to alter these articles, which lay out the country's basic principles and are protected from being changed or abrogated.

"If this is the will of the CHP as an institution, this is a very serious problem for our country," said the president, asserting also that the CHP was cooperating with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which authorities in Turkey accuse of having links with the PKK terror group.

"History will certainly hold accountable those who put the oldest party of the republic, which is the CHP, under the command of a terrorist organization's puppet, which is the HDP," he said.

The first three articles of Turkey's Constitution say the country is a democratic, secular, and social republic governed by the rule of law, with Turkish as its official language and Ankara as its capital. The fourth article guarantees that the first three are irrevocable and unchangeable.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Turkey's government contends that the HDP is merely the political branch of the outlawed PKK, and prosecutors have filed a court case to disband the party due to these allegations of terrorist ties.

- Efforts to draft new Constitution

During his speech, Erdogan called on political parties in the country to publicly announce and release their drafts for a new constitution.

He stressed that the Justice and Development (AK) Party, which he chairs, is sincere in its proposal to prepare the country's "first civilian constitution."

"If we can reconcile our own (Constitutional) preparations with the constitutional draft of other parties, we can complete this work within parliament before the end of the legislative year," Erdogan said.

"In the event that a compromise cannot be reached, as political parties, we'll all be on the nation's scales in the upcoming 2023 elections. With great pleasure, we will respect our nation's decisions at the ballot box," he added.

The current Turkish Constitution was made after a military coup in 1980 and Erdogan has been pushing for a new constitution to be drafted under civilian rule.

Earlier this year, the Turkish president urged all political parties to be part of this process, a call backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of AK Party in the People's Alliance.

Erdogan recently said AK Party plans to make public its draft for a new civilian constitution in early 2022.

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