The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, which is working on drafting a new and more democratic constitution for Turkey as part of its election promises, is not out to destroy the old status quo and replace it with a new one, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday.
Delivering the closing speech at a four-day party caucus in Ankara’s Kızılcahamam district, the prime minister said about the ongoing work on a new constitution: “Changing the old status quo that is keeping Turkey in shackles is not enough. And we are announcing right away that our new perspective is not about building a new status quo.”
He said the people had given Parliament the duty to draft a new constitution. “Our Parliament will exercise in the right way this power taken from the people to do its responsibility to the people.” He said Parliament, with its 91-year history, had the accumulation of knowledge to draft a new constitution “for as long as we talk face-to-face, for as long as we don’t talk to each other from behind ideological walls, for as long as we don’t slip to illegitimate grounds because of the reflexes of bureaucratic ideologies.”
Erdoğan said in party consultation meetings AK Party members attached the greatest importance to making a new constitution. “The constitution question, which is at the heart of all of Turkey’s problems, is the most important issue to solve for an advanced democracy and a strong Turkey.” He said the only way Turkey could realize its dream of being a part of the contemporary civilization, a goal set by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is to head into the future with a new constitution. “It is now the right time to meet our people’s demands,” he said.
The prime minister said the Turkish nation wanted a democracy rid of all military guardianship. “Our nation doesn’t want to share its right to sovereignty with anyone ever again. It wants only the people to have a say on fundamental rights and freedoms.”
Erdoğan also highlighted the international aspect of his party. “The AK Party is not only a party of Turkey, it is a party of the world from Mogadishu to Bosnia and Herzegovina, from Damascus to Skopje, from Sana to Bishkek, from Abu Dhabi to Islamabad, from Gaza to Benghazi, from Pristina to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [KKTC]. Where there is a victim in the world, the AK Party is there by his side. This is the kind of party we are,” he said.
17 October 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL