Writing a new constitution will be a historic opportunity to accommodate Turkey’s major problems, like the Kurdish issue and the coexistence of conflicting lifestyles, according to a top EU envoy. It took a long time for Europeans to solve similar problems, said Marc Pierini, European Commission’s representative in Turkey, in reference to the Kurdish issue.
“The solution was 100 percent political, not a military solution,” Pierini said, talking to a group of journalists on Oct. 21. “The new constitution is the major vehicle to solve Turkey’s major problems.”
Turkey is following the correct methodology to write a new constitution, according to Pierini. The methodology employed in the previous effort to change the constitution, which ended with amendments being put to referendum, was a poor one, he said. “It was a single party proposal. The choice was between the one offered by the government and the one of the military coup. That’s why we said it was a right step in the right direction. The other parties had not offered an alternative. So far so good,” said Pierini talking about the fact that four parties are equally represented on the commission that will draft the charter and adding that it was extremely positive that the ruling party did not offer its own proposal to the commission.
“The next constitution will be a historic opportunity to accommodate major problems like the Kurdish issue and coexistence between lifestyles,” he said after mentioning the terror attack that took place on the first day the Preparatory Constitution Commission met to begin work. Pierini said it took decades to solve similar problems in Europe.
When asked about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s criticism of insufficient support coming from the EU in the fight against terror, Pierini said, “His convictions are based on past experience during the course of the last 10 years. But there has been improvement in the course of the last two-three years. But these are technical issues and it is not like instant coffee, it takes time for them to be effective.”
Pierini said Turkey’s image in the Middle East would be shaped by the type of constitution that it will have. While some constituencies in the region look to Turkey as a better example than Iran, not all look to Turkey as a model, he said. “I am not sure whether some religious minorities in Egypt or Tunsia or if Egyptian diplomacy is looking to Turkey as a model,” he said.
Turkey and the EU’s convergence rate on foreign policy issues has fallen below 50 percent, while there has been times when it was 70 percent, Pierini said. “We sent our statement on foreign policy issues to Turkey with two hours notice on whether it would like to participate in the statement,” he said. Turkey wants to be consulted in advance and it therefore makes a case by not accepting the statement, according to Pierini.