Turkish constitutional changes may give Erdoğan power to send laws to parliament – columnist

Changes to the Turkish constitution signalled by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may include the authority for the president to submit draft bills to parliament, Hürriyet columnist Nuray Babacan wrote on Wednesday.

Other alterations to the country’s constitution could include changes to the Constitutional Court and other top judicial bodies, the presidential oath and provision on rights and freedoms, according to Babacan.

The Turkish president, in an unexpected statement on Monday, spoke on the need to draft a new and “civilian” constitution for Turkey.

Recalling that the country's last two constitutions, enacted in 1961 and 1982, were drafted following military coups, Erdoğan said his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was ready to discuss a new constitution. 

Erdoğan’s junior coalition partner and leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, has thrown his full support behind the idea, saying the current constitution fails to accommodate the presidential system, ushered in with the June 2018 elections.

The idea of a civilian constitution was first discussed in the AKP’s Central Executive Board (MYK) and cabinet meetings, where Justice Minister Abdühamit Gül brought up the issue as part of the judicial reform package, the columnist wrote.

Gül has welcomed the signalled constitutional changes as part of the envisioned reforms, she added.

In November, Erdoğan announced government plans to carry out sweeping economic and legal reforms to prepare Turkey for the 2023 elections.

Analysts maintain the packages will focus on human rights and returning to the EU process, which has stalled in the last few years due to Turkey’s failure to comply with required criteria pertaining to the EU candidacy.