Turkey's AKP re-opening reforms to signature after dispute

An executive of the ruling AK Party said on Monday that the constitutional amendment bill was re-opened to signature.

Turkey's AKP re-opening reforms to signature after dispute

An executive of the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party said on Monday that the constitutional amendment bill was re-opened to signature.

AK Party group deputy chairman Suat Kilic told reporters that several deputies withdrew their signatures from the bill so that the bill was opened to signature again.

Thus, discussions regarding the signatures on the bill would end, added Kilic.


Turkish government's constitutional amendment bill includes 26 articles.

The bill envisages amendments to 23 articles of the Constitution, and abolition of the provisional Article 15 of the Constitution.

It also paves the way for trial of parliament speaker, chief of general staff, and senior commanders by the High Tribunal on charges of crimes they commit regarding their positions.

According to the bill, the Constitutional Court will consist of 17 permanent members. It actually has 11 permanent and four associate members.

Turkish parliament will elect three members in a secret vote, whereas the president will elect ten members from candidates of several state institutions and choose four other himself.

The Constitutional Court will not be comprised of three chambers, which was an amendment foreseen in the previous bill prepared by the AK Party last week.

The bill also limits the term in office of Constitutional Court members. It says members will be elected for 12 years, and no one can be elected to membership twice.

Also, citizens can make individual applications to the Constitutional Court.

The bill will also abolish the ban on right to general strike; paves the way for a citizen to become a member of more than one trade union, and the civil servants and other public officials the right to collective bargaining.

According to the bill, the Court of Accounts will make the financial audit of political parties.

A lawsuit to close a political party can only be filed with the votes of two-thirds of a committee to be set up by five members from each political parties represented at the parliament. The lawsuit can be filed under a request of the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The Constitutional Court will not decide whether or not to close down a political party, but it can only decide whether to partially or to totally deprive a party of state assistance according to the importance of the act in question.

Under the bill, no one can lose his/her deputyship.

The bill also paves the way for trial of decisions of the Supreme Military Council.

Military courts will only be charged to deal with military crimes committed by military personnel. General courts will deal with crimes against state security and constitutional order, and civilians cannot be tried by military courts except war time.

According to the bill, the structure of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) will change.

The permanent members of the board will climb to 21 from 7, and the number of its associate members will rise to 10 from 5. They will be elected for four years, and can be re-elected after their terms in office end.

The head of the board will continue to be the justice minister. Also, the undersecretary of the justice ministry will take part in the board.

The bill also envisions abolishing the provisional article 15 of the constitution which does not allow trial of the members of the Council of National Security formed after the military intervention on September 12, 1980.

Also, the bill adds three provisional articles to the Constitution, one of which makes the amendments to the structure of Constitutional Court also valid in ongoing cases.

The actual associate members of the Constitutional Court will become permanent members.

If the bill is to be put to referendum, it will be voted as a whole.

The government made public the constitutional amendment bill on March 22. Opposition parties which are sceptical of the government bill, have severely criticized the attempt, and said the move aimed at taking over and politicising the judiciary.

The Supreme Court, the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Judges have also severely criticised the bill and accused the government of attempting to infiltrate into the judiciary.

The government which denies accusations argues that the bill aims at making Turkey more democratic in line with EU's expectations.

The bill needs to get 367 votes in order to be adopted. If it receives somewhere between 330 and 366 votes the government may carry it to referendum. If it receives less then 330 the bill will be rejected.

AK Party holds 337 seats in the parliament. However the parliament speakers are not allowed to vote in the parliament which reduces potential votes in favour of the bill to 336.

Both the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and second opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) declared they would not support the bill.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Nisan 2010, 10:24