New charter to raise Turkey to highest democracy level: Erdoğan

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The People’s Alliance will introduce its own constitutional draft to people’s discretion in the absence of a consensus reached among political parties, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, vowing a new civilian charter will raise Turkey to the highest democracy level in the world. “We are determined to present our own [constitutional] draft to the discretion of our people should compromise with other parties cannot be reached,” Erdoğan said at a meeting with provincial heads of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on May 27. Erdoğan convened his provincial leaders in Yassı Ada, an island on the Marmara Sea, on the occasion of the 61th anniversary of Turkey’s first military coup d’état that had ousted the Democrat Party from the government. Former Democrat Party leader, former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and two other senior ministers were tried on a military court established on this island in 1960 and were executed on charges of violation of the constitution and other crimes in September 1961. The island is now called “Democracy and Freedoms Island” and hosts events devoted to Turkey’s democratization process. Denouncing all the past and recent attempts to undermine Turkey’s democratic evolution, including the July 15, 2016 coup attempt at the hands of the FETÖ, Erdoğan stressed that the best way to nix such interventions was to strengthen people’s will. President Erdoğan described the current executive-presidential system as a tool to boost people’s will while stressing that a new civilian constitution would further cement it. “Our partners at the People’s Alliance, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Great Union Party (BBP) are carrying out their own works. I have received the MHP’s draft from Mr. Chairman,” Erdoğan recalled, referring to MHP’s 100-article constitutional draft outlined by chairman Devlet Bahçeli early in May. “We are also about to conclude our work,” Erdoğan informed, expressing his wish to produce a joint text after deliberations with the MHP and the BBP. Erdoğan calls on opposition to work together A new constitution will be much better if all the political parties contribute and agree on a single text, Erdoğan stressed, vowing that this would move Turkey to the highest level of democracy in the world. But, in the absence of such compromise, the People’s Alliance will move on its own path and introduce it to public opinion. In earlier statements, Erdoğan said a constitutional draft would be ready by the first quarter of 2022 and would be presented to people for discussion. The AKP and MHP have no majority in the parliament to introduce a constitutional amendment even through a referendum. They need the support of at least 24 lawmakers from other political parties to reach the required 360 votes. Blaming the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for backing the undemocratic intentions that caused the suspension of democracy in history, Erdoğan said the AKP government’s priority in the past 19 years of rule has always been to upgradeTurkey’s democracy and freedoms.

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