AKP members don't expect a new constitution soon due to lack of opposition support

Members of the AKP don't expect the opposition to agree on the party's proposed constitution, sources told Duvar. An AKP member said that getting the approval of the opposition is especially tough in an environment that's immensely polarized.

Duvar English 

Members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) don't expect a constitution to be drafted soon since getting opposition's support is a far-fetched idea, sources told Duvar. 

The debate around a new constitution began after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for drafting a new one, but he has only received the support of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) so far. 

Erdoğan on Feb. 1 said that the AKP and the MHP may start working on drafting a new constitution, less than four years after overhauling the previous constitution to grant his office sweeping powers.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli immediately supported Erdoğan's call, saying that Turkey is "obligated" to replace its current constitution.

While all parties agree that a new constitution is needed, the opposition emphasizes that the new one should include the return to a parliamentary system.

Turks had voted in favor of the constitutional changes in 2017, leading the country to switch from a parliamentary democracy to an executive presidential system despite strong backlash from opposition parties and critics.

Erdoğan was elected president under the new system in 2018, with sweeping executive powers that opposition parties described as a "one-man regime." The People's Alliance consisting of the AKP and the MHP have defended the system, saying it created a streamlined state apparatus.

While the new charter is planned to be prepared by 2023, AKP officials said that a four-step process will be carried out during its preparation. 

A committee consisting of academics will work on the issue, which will be followed by discussions within the AKP. The process will then continue with talks between the AKP and the MHP and the draft will be sent to other parties in parliament afterwards. 

If the parties don't agree on the draft, which is the expectation of all political circles, the AKP and MHP will submit it to parliament as a draft bill. 

The said long and ambiguous process has led members of the AKP to think that drafting a new constitution won't be easy. 

'Can't be taken seriously'

Prominent politician and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Honorary Chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü, meanwhile, said that Turkey needs a democratic constitution, but Erdoğan's call for drafting a new one is far from seriousness. 

"You insult the other parties every day and then call on them to draft a new constitution. Is this child's play?" Kürkçü asked, referring to Erdoğan's repeated remarks about opposition parties. 

"I don't think this can be taken seriously," he said. 

According to Kürkçü, the opposition must unite to work on election security since fraud is expected. 

"The opposition needs to find a solution to this," Kürkçü said.