Turkish MPs pass Article 13th of Constitution change

Article 13 dealing with ‘military courts’ endorsed by Turkish lawmakers

Turkish MPs pass Article 13th of Constitution change

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish lawmakers on Saturday adopted the thirteenth article of the new constitutional reform package that deals with "the military courts".

In Saturday night's secret ballot, 343 out of 550 MPs of Turkish parliament voted in favor of the motion while 133 MPs rejected, three voted blank, along with two invalid votes and one abstaining vote.

The motion stipulates that military courts cannot be established except for disciplinary ones.

Among the articles that Turkish lawmakers passed so far are regulations for job definition and responsibilities of the parliament -- one of the most discussed items -- and regulating criminal liabilities for the president and top officials as well as election regulations.

Five more amendments will be voted on the constitutional reforms.

Constitutional reform and the change to a presidential system has been on the political agenda since Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former prime minister and Justice and Development (AK) Party leader, was elected president in August 2014. It marked the first time a Turkish president had been directly chosen by popular vote.

On Dec. 30, a constitutional committee of deputies from the AK Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted a proposed bill to parliament for ratification. Turkey's largest opposition party, CHP, and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) remain opposed to the proposed changes.

If it passes parliament with 330 of 550 deputies, it will be voted on in a national referendum. If it obtains the support of 367 lawmakers, it can pass into law without referendum although Erdogan has said he would push for a referendum even if the draft is approved by the two-thirds majority.

Proposed changes to the constitution require a simple majority (51 percent).

The AK Party has 316 seats and the MHP -- which has so far supported the constitutional change -- has 39 seats.

The "yes" votes from the two parties would be enough to secure a referendum.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ocak 2017, 02:10