President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated that one of his priorities, if re-elected on May 14, will be drafting a new civilian and libertarian constitution.
“We want a new civilian and libertarian constitution penned [with the spirit of] national will for Türkiye. If accomplished, this will mean to clear the last clouds on our democracy. This will be one of the most important objectives of the Century of Türkiye vision,” Erdoğan said in an address on the 155th anniversary of the Council of State on May 10 in Ankara.
Erdoğan said his government will prioritize this immediately after the elections and a draft will be submitted to the Parliament.
Türkiye will elect the president and 600-seat parliament in Sunday’s polls. Four hundred votes are required to change the constitution. A charter amendment that receives between 360 and 400 votes can be taken to a referendum. Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has long been working on a new constitution, but it could not submit it to the parliament as it did not have the majority.
Erdoğan did ask for the contribution of the members of the supreme judiciary for the new constitution which will also further strengthen the judicial branches in the country. Recalling that Türkiye voted in favor of a constitutional change in 2017 that shifted the government model into executive-presidency and consolidated the principle of the separation of powers in the country, Erdoğan said:
“We have raised the standards of our democracy by setting clearer boundaries between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. With this constitutional amendment, we also added the phrase of ‘impartiality’ to the principle of ‘independence.’ We have thus taken an important step to save the judiciary from the former disputes it used to end up in.”
The relations between the judiciary and other branches, particularly the executive, are a matter of debate anywhere in the world, the President stressed, adding that such debates had become particularly destructive for Türkiye’s institutions at times of tutelage and coups.
“We cleared all the state institutions, including the judiciary, of this gang of treason [the FETÖ]. We stand witness to the firm stance the judiciary displays in the fight our country wages against all the terrorist organizations and illegal formations regardless of their appearances and names.”