Chairman of the Parliamentary Constitutional Commission and Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP Burhan Kuzu admitted the need for an amendment of the Constitution. However, emphasizing that the Republican People's Party (CHP) takes every amendment to the Constitutional Court and that the Constitutional Court has the actual authority to cancel every amendment, Kuzu said: "They strangled the Constitution before it could emerge, so we left it aside as well. We linger on with micro packages".
Kuzu spoke at the meeting of the "Small National Assemblies of Turkey" (TsNAs) on 10 January, a gathering of about 100 representatives of non-governmental organizations, politicians, academic and observers. Kuzu stated that they have the option of amending the Constitution quarter by quarter. However, the same obstacles as mentioned above apply here as well, he said.
Election threshold and political parties law
"DTP, Party closure and Constitutional Court" was the main title of the meeting in the context of the recent closure of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). Right in the beginning of the meeting the participants required that the Constitution should be amended. Assoc. Dr. Olgun Akbulut from Kadir Has University pointed out that the prementioned obstacles do not apply to the Political Parties Law, which is the base for closures of political parties, and to the Election Law. He asked Kuzu why according amendments have not been done yet.
Akbulut drew attention to the article concerning political parties and the "prevention of creating minorities" and to the 10 percent threshold ordered by the Election Law.
Kuzu replied that articles from both laws contain references to the Constitution, putting forward that "amendments might not be fruitful". Regarding the election threshold, he stated that 10 percent is too high a margin and that it could be reduced to 5 percent. Kuzu claimed though that this will be an obstacle for political stability by means of coalition governments.
Politicians fond of coup constitution
However, Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kaboğlu, another constitutional lawyer, highlighted the fact that only 139 votes are necessary to decide for amendments in the Parliament.
Kaboğlu implied that the 19th century concept of "national sovereignty" came to the notion of "people's sovereignty" in the 21st century. Many non-governmental organizations prepared numerous constitution proposals within several frameworks. Even though, the fact that the Parliament has not taken any action related to this issue means that "there is a deliberate sympathy, open or hidden, for the Constitution from 1982", Kaboğlu indicated.
Uras: No threshold does not mean no stability
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP Ufuk Uras underlined that the election threshold conforms to AKP and CHP which are above the threshold. "Allow the people to vote their own candidates", Uras demanded. He disproved Kuzu's "instability" allegations and replied hat by applying the method of "proportional balance between representation and the nation" the Justice Party became the only political power after the elections of 1965.
In reference to political ethics Uras argued, "You cannot say we are against coups and defend the coup constitution; you cannot say you condemn the murder of Hrant Dink and defend article 301. This is a disgrace. You should be ashamed".
The "Small National Assemblies of Turkey"
The "Small National Assemblies of Turkey" are meetings of members of parliament, local officials, academics, voters and NGO representatives who seek dialogue concerning certain topics defined by the respective agenda. The assemblies have been set up in almost 30 provinces so far. Further TsNAs are planned for another eleven provinces until the middle of this year. The outcomes of the meetings are summarized in a report which is forwarded to the Parliament. (TK/VK)