Turkish President Erdogan renewed the call to form a new constitution for the country.
Türkiye will enter a new political battle between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition parties.
Erdogan called on the political forces to draft a new constitution, stressing that the change would contribute to getting rid of the legacy of coups, and for the citizen to find himself within the constitution.
Although the ruling AKP party and the opposition agree to change the constitution, it’s expected that the dispute between them will intensify over the issues of the content of the next constitution, including: the identity of the state, the definition of citizenship, the Islamic authority, the women right to wear head cover “hijab”, the Kurds, the authorities of the president, and the nature of the government system to be either presidential or parliamentary.
Erdogan said in the opening session of Parliament about his goal for the new constitution, “The current constitution has been amended more than 20 times until it has become flabby… We want an inclusive and comprehensive civil constitution, drawn up through consensus and dialogue, and worthy of Türkiye’s centenary (the 100’s anniversary since the declaration of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923).
In reference to the differences between the ruling AKP party and the opposition over the identity of the constitution, the Turkish President criticized the opposition parties, saying that they complained about the coup constitution (i.e., placed under the authority of military coups since 1982) but didn’t accept our participation in drafting a new constitution.
In turn, Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş said: “We’ll make extraordinary efforts to crown the second century of our republic with a new constitution, through discussion without bias”.
Drawing up a new constitution requires the approval of 400 deputies out of 600, while it needs at least 360 votes to refer it to a referendum.
Thus, the ruling AKP party and its ally, the National Movement Party, need the support of 40 deputies.
Constitutional life in Türkiye began in the 19th century, and the 20th century witnessed the establishment of several constitutions, including the 1921 Constitution issued during the War of Independence, and after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk declared the republic, the 1924, 1961, and 1982 constitutions were issued.
The Turkish opposition believes that the definition of a citizen is belonging to the homeland, as a person holding a Turkish passport is a citizen regardless of his race.
The opposition accuses Erdogan that he will try in the new constitution to support the presidential system, and to perpetuate the one-man policy by expanding his powers.
The opposition says that Erdogan is intending to add a clause that would allow him to remain president for more than two terms.
The new constitution aims to improve relations with the West, and for Erdogan to gain more legitimacy as an actor in the international system.
The changes may include substances that cause problems in the economy.
Changes may be made that support the religious segment, such as adopting Islamic laws in Turkish society, shifting the official holiday in the country to Friday instead of Sunday, and promoting Islamic religious culture in public and teaching in schools, in addition to the freedom to wear the hijab.