Issues concerning fundamental rights should not be taken to referendum, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, stressing they are right to adopt the constitutional amendments on the use of headscarf and family through the votes of the lawmakers at the Parliament.
“In principle, we don’t find holding a referendum on fundamental rights to be the correct way. Our wish is to find majority at the Parliament to approve these amendments,” Erdoğan stated following the cabinet meeting late Nov. 7.
Erdoğan had earlier stressed that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was determined to take all necessary actions, including going to referendum for the adoption of the constitutional amendments.
At least 400 votes out of 600 lawmakers are needed to amend the constitution. Votes between 360 and 400 will take the amendments to referendum. The AKP and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) need 26 votes to take the amendments to referendum.
Erdoğan said the AKP started to discuss the amendments with other political parties. “If we could come to an agreement with other parties we will submit our constitutional amendments accordingly, if we cannot then we will submit our own proposals,” he stated.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) said it won’t support the amendments while other parties said they will respond after internal consultations.
The amendments are expected to concern articles 24 and 41, on freedom of religion and conscience and protection of the family and the children’s rights, respectively. A change in Article 24 will provide new guarantees to female public servants and private sector workers that they can’t be restricted by any sort of dress code. AKP officials say this amendment will guarantee female workers the freedom to dress, that is leaving it up to them whether they want to cover themselves.