Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Source: Press TV
A Turkish lawmaker has censured a recent announcement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to redraft the constitution, likening the current government to a ‘semi-dictatorship.’
“We already live in a semi-dictatorship, so now are we going for a constitutional dictatorship?” said Riza Turmen, the deputy leader of the Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights.
Turmen made the comments on Wednesday in response to a May 7 announcement by Erdogan that a Turkish parliamentary commission started redrafting the 30-year-old constitution, which was passed two years after the military coup of 1980.
Erdogan said in his announcement on May 7, “We can discuss everything about it -- whether it will be a presidential system or a co-presidency.”
The Turkish premier also said the new constitution would “highlight the citizen, not the state.”
However, Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also criticized the latest decision on redrafting the constitution.
“We are not in favor of a presidential system,” Bahceli said on Wednesday.
The new Turkish constitution is expected to be produced before the end of 2012 and civil society organizations, religious groups and citizens have also been asked to contribute to the redrafting process. The new text would then be put to a referendum.
Meanwhile, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has called for more rights in the new constitution for the 12 to 15 million Kurds living in the country.
The new constitution would be the fourth in Turkey since the establishment of the Turkish republic in 1923.