THE PUBLIC WILL MAKE THE NEW CONSTITUTION
- Published:13 Ocak 2011, Perşembe
- Updated:13 Ocak 2011, Perşembe
Referring to the constitution, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated; I dream of a comprehensible text in which fundamental rights and freedoms are assured. He also explains that his second desire is for the constitution to be drafted by an Assembly panel that will provide widespread participation.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan states; "The new constitution will be drafted by a wide public segment and not solely constitution experts. The public will no longer need an interpreter to understand the constitution."
Speaking to journalists from his hotel prior to his departure from Qatar, Erdoğan expressed his dream for the new constitution as being, "an understandable text in which fundamental freedoms and rights are secured." He also went on to express that his other desire was for an Assembly panel to allow for the widest possible participation to be involved in drafting the constitution. Erdoğan went on to state: "On September 12th we called for 'advanced democracy and freedoms'. We now need to be more comprehensive in our handling of the constitution. This constitution will not be drafted by constitution experts but by many widespread segments of the public. Civil society organizations, women's organizations, unions, economists and social scientists will be the ones to determine the next constitution. We will request the widest possible participation from the public and at the final stage will benefit from constitutionalists from a technical perspective. An interpreter will not be necessary in order to understand the constitution. We are hoping to establish this parliamentary panel after the elections.
At the moment, we have begun working with non-governmental organizations. We are very proud of this and promote such work. I dream of a comprehensible text geared towards concise but substantial advanced democracy, which secures fundamental rights and freedoms. We have already taken many steps in terms of women's rights; however this constitution will secure women's rights. The family structure will also be preserved. There is already protection for the family structure in the current constitution; however we want it to be more concrete preservation. There are those who want to break apart our family structure."
Prime Minister Erdoğan went on to answer a number of other questions regarding current issues on the agenda.
• Will general elections be held in May?
"We have no such plans. We are planning to hold elections in June. Our comrades are working on the issue and we will decide at the end of February or at the start of May."
• Did you use the term 'freak' in reference to the controversial monument in Kars, or to the surrounding shanty town?
"We don't need to go back and forth on this. I used the term to describe the statue. Those who made assessments of what happened there and went on television have neither seen the statue nor the location. I speak with the background of being a Municipal Mayor; there are historical artifacts present where the statue is located. I am not at all concerned with the subject matter of the monument. I happen to know, more or less, what a monument is. One doesn't need to be a graduate in fine arts to appreciate a statue. When a song is played and someone asks a passerby if they like it, they don't ask, 'are you a music school graduate?' Why is it that friend (the former AK Party Kars Municipal Mayor) was not reselected as a candidate?
Because that friend did not have the qualifications we were looking for. He was not selected as a candidate because he did not fit in with our concept of conservative democracy. We began cleaning up the area where the monument is situated as soon as we came into power.
With expropriations, we brought forth the Seyyit Hassan el Harkani Mosque. The dome of the mosque and the hill where the monument is situated are practically the same height. Then there is a 48-meter high statue. We can't allow for construction that will overshadow a historical artifact. I warned the municipal mayor about the monument when it was first being built. In addition, the Natural & Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency also ruled on taking down the monument. The municipal mayor, in turn, was responsible for tearing down the statue. What is being discussed today has nothing to do with history or fine arts. They are trying to give us a lesson in art. However, back when I was a municipal mayor, 106 historical graves and tombstones were removed from Karacaahmet. I showed 46 different locations where a Cemevi could be built. They responded by saying, 'You can bury us, but you can't stop us.' We used dozers to tear down the construction. The Prime Minister at the time called the Governor of Istanbul and had it stopped. Thank goodness we had taken photographs. Later, when I was imprisoned, they filed a case against me for 'tearing down historical artifacts.' My attorney added the photographs to the case file and I was exonerated."
• The foreign press is making references to the 'Taliban' in discussion of the monument being brought down, what do you think?
"There is no point in deviating from the objective. I served as the Mayor of Istanbul for four and a half years and have been the Prime Minister for seven and a half years. I have never taken down a statue or any artifact. I would never attempt to demolish a work of art if it was acceptable by law. However, nobody should try to make comparisons. Furthermore, they say it themselves. There are thousands of Atatürk statues. However there are only five, at most ten that have artistic value... Meanwhile, the Kars public expects service. They want an infrastructure and superstructure. One million, two-hundred thousand was spent on that sculpture. The public did not reelect him as mayor. I agree with my public's volition and disposition. And this is what the public expects."
• This year, university students are effectively allowed to wear headscarves. However, what will happen if headscarf-wearing graduates want to become academics or work for the public sector?
"If we are taking about 'progressive democracy and freedom' then we need to deal with this issue. If it is a right granted by the West, then we also need to have these rights. This is allowed in the United States, it's allowed in Japan, in Europe, but not in Turkey. They say it's because there are 'intrinsic conditions'. However this is a coercive excuse, it is not an honest and sincere defense. Now, the right to independently apply to the Constitutional Court is coming. However, the Constitutional Court put up an obstacle despite legality. Independent applications will also be the start to a new era. This struggle for rights will come to an end at some point."
• Do you expect tension to rise regarding the Kurdish issue as the elections approach?
"This issue is literally becoming taboo. The issue of Kurdish citizens is something else and the Kurdish issue is something different. The AKP has exhibited interest in this issue in a way that has never before been seen in the republic. Steps were taken that no one dared to take. Our citizens stated, 'lift the emergency state, that's all we want,' and so we did so. We opened up courses in their native language. We lifted the prohibition of speaking Kurdish in prison. We founded TRT Şeş, a television station which broadcasts 24 hours in Kurdish. With TRT Avaz, we opened up to the Turkish world. We made 20 billion dollar investments in the East and Southeast. These are never before seen initiatives. Our brothers of Kurdish origin are making their own assessments on all we have done. But our Abkhaz and Roman brothers also have problems. We are also trying to reach a solution for them as well. Laz, Circassian, Kurds, it's all cultural prosperity. This unity is being a citizen of the Turkish Republic."
- Our democracy was not harmed in these attacks
Responding to the European Parliament resolution condemning the police crackdown on protests sparked by redevelopment plans for Gezi Park, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated They are confused. They have no fidelity, and added that European politicians and institutions instantly laid down their masks in order to provoke events.
- Standing man!
One mans passive defiance by way of standing in place in Taksim Square and looking straight at the Atatürk Culture Center, quickly turned into a social media phenomenon last night.
- What is Claudia Roth doing in Taksim?
Infuriating Germans, Green Party Co-Chair Roth was subjected to pepper spray in Istanbul. Commenting on the incident, German nationals say, It turns out Erdoğan was right in saying that there are foreign forces triggering Taksim, and Roths presence is now proof. Other comments include, If Abdullah Gül showed up at Occupy Frankfurt of if Erdoğan was involved in the Stuttgart 21 demonstrations, the ground would shake!
- In just one day Taksim gets 20 trees and 152,000 flowers
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been working continuously since last night on clearing and landscaping Taksim Square and Gezi Park.
- EU Minister Bağiş: Every crisis has made Erdoğan stronger
Explaining that the Gezi Park protests were planned six months ago, EU Minister Bağış states, These protests are an attempt to trigger a move which will end in regime change in Turkey. Bağış also discussed Prime Minister Erdoğans style with the Wall Street Journal.
- What do young supporters of Erdoğan think?
They came by land, they came by sea, and they came to hear their Prime Minister speak. Yesterdays Kazlıçeşme rally in support of Prime Minister Erdoğan saw over a million supporters come out to the square with AK Party and Turkish flags in hand, giving true sentiment to the figures of Erdoğans support rate.
- Protesters are using weapons
Istanbul Governor Mutlu is calling on protesters to refrain from responding to calls on social media to gather in Taksim because he says; peace has been established once again in Istanbul.
- Erdoğan receives unprecedented support from Istanbul residents
Nearly a million Istanbul residents flocked out to see Prime Minister Erdoğan speak at an AK Party rally in Kazlıçeşme on Sunday. Istanbul residents want the vandalism of protesters destroying and setting the city on fire to come to an end as soon as possible. Meanwhile, they also support Erdoğans referendum proposal.
- There is a functioning democracy in all of Turkeys institutions
On the first presidential visit to Ardahan in 18 years, President Gül had the chance to comment on the European Parliaments resolution vote on Thursday by stating, When reacting they need to have enough information to realize what is what.
- Reyhanli's number one suspect arrested
The number one suspect accused of planning and staging the twin bombings in the Hatay town of Reyhanlı, which killed 52 people, Nasır Eskiocak as well as three other perpetrators were arrested on Friday.
- Istanbul Governor pleased, Istanbul youth pleased
Istanbul Governor Mutlu held discussions with protesters which started late Thursday night and went on into the early morning hours of Friday. There was no lapse in respect during the talks that were both peaceful and spirited. The main questioned asked was who ordered the use of disproportionate force.
- A four-item road map to solve the Gezi Park crisis
After deliberations between Prime Minister Erdoğan and other government officials with a delegation representing the Gezi Park protesters which went on into the morning hours of Friday, a decision was reached to respect judicial rulings and citizens opinions. Bringing the Gezi Park protests to a close with a series of artistic events is also now on the agenda.
- We will return the EP ruling right back to them
Foreign Minister Davutoğlu says the European Parliament resolution adopted on Thursday is unacceptable and should they notify Turkey of the resolution, then Turkey will instantly return the gesture.
- Turkish youth activist group protests against BBC and CNN
At 2 pm on Thursday afternoon, a Turkish youth activist group Bizim Çocuklar (Our Youth) orchestrated a protest of what they view as the double standard exhibited by western media outside the BBCs Turkey Office in Istanbuls prestigious Nisantaş neighbourhood.