President Erdoğan and CHP leader Özel talked about new constitution, AKP spokesperson says

AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik has stated that the preparation of a new constitution was on the agenda in the meeting between President Erdoğan and CHP leader Özel. On June 11, Erdoğan paid a return visit to main-opposition CHP leader Özel, marking the first visit to CHP’s headquarters after 18 years.

Photo: CHP

Duvar English

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesperson Ömer Çelik on June 11 commented on the meeting between President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel.

Erdoğan paid a return visit to main-opposition CHP leader Özel, marking the first visit to CHP’s headquarters after 18 years.

“With this return visit, a strong message was given that the continuation of the dialogue environment is welcomed very positively in our society, and that the ground for dialogue between political parties about Turkey's issues, as expressed by Mr. President, should be kept strong,” Çelik said. 

Çelik said the duo talked about the preparation of a new constitution. “Our President has expressed his views that the steps that need to be taken to rid Turkey of the coup constitution should be realized not only through a narrow initiative but also through the broadest social and political consensus. He stated that the constitutional process should be carried out as a social contract embracing the whole of Turkey.”

Özel previously asked the government to abide by the current constitution before preparing a new one. 

Çelik also said Erdoğan emphasized that the gains achieved through the new economic program “would be protected.” 

Following the 2023 elections, Erdoğan named a new cabinet and central bank chief in a broader policy U-turn. The government has implemented a tight monetary policy since then.

“Another important issue is the recent practices of some mayors, which may amount to hate crimes, which may amount to racism, and the emergence of practices that we can call negative practices towards certain lifestyles, which unfortunately remind us of the scenes in old Turkey. In this context, our President stated that a common attitude should be developed against all kinds of hate politics, that we, as the government, are pursuing a strong policy on this issue, and that we expect the same from the opposition parties,” Çelik added.

Meanwhile, CHP Spokesperson Deniz Yücel said CHP leader brough the issues of the Gezi case, Sinan Ateş case, Emine Şenyaşar case and the trustee mayor appointments during the meeting.

The AKP and CHP leaders met for the first time after 2016 when newly elected main-opposition leader Özel signaled a lighter diplomatic attitude toward Erdoğan. Following the 2024 local elections defeat of the AKP, Erdoğan signaled a “normalization” process in the politics.

New constitution

The preparations for a new constitution accelerated after the March 31st local elections.

The 1982 Constitution, prepared by the military regime, was amended 19 times. Three referendums for the constitutional amendments were held in 2007, 2010, 2017 under the ruling AKP, paving the way for the centralized hyper-presidential regime of today.

Before the 1982 Constitution, the Republic of Turkey had had three different constitutions, prepared in 1921, 1924 and 1961.

A constitutional draft has to be approved by at least 360 deputies in the Parliament, out of 600, for a referendum to be held. With more than 400 deputies, the draft can be approved without a referendum.

The ruling People's Alliance currently has 320 deputies.