President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 1 talked about the necessity of a new constitution, saying this will be realized if his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) reaches an agreement with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“It is time for Turkey to discuss a new constitution again...If we arrive at an understanding with our partner in the People's Alliance, we can take an action for the new constitution,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 1, following a cabinet meeting.
Erdoğan said that work in this regard must be done in a "transparent" manner and presented to the discretion of the people.
The last time that Turkey made changes to its constitution was in 2017, allowing Erdoğan sweeping new powers. The amendments, which were jointly brought by the AKP and MHP, allowed the president to be a party chairman.
"No matter how much we change, it is not possible to erase the signs of coup and tutelage that have been inserted into the spirit of the constitution," Erdoğan said, adding he was upset that previous such attempts had foundered over the main opposition's "uncompromising stance."
Erdoğan's remarks come weeks after Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli suggested constitutional changes to ban the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP).
"Work on a constitution is not something that can be done under the shadow of groups linked to the terrorist organization (PKK) with people whose mental and emotional ties to their country are broken," Erdoğan said, without specifying.
Preparations underway for certain schools to gradually open
Erdoğan also announced a plan to start "gradual relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions" with the number of infections decreasing.
In that respect, schools in villages will begin face-to-face education as of Feb. 15. "If villages in which schools reopen see an increase in case numbers, then education might halt again," Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also said that preparations are underway to resume in-class education on March 1 for 8th- and 12th-grade students, primary and special education schools.
Turkey on Feb. 1 reported 7,719 additional virus cases, including 636 symptomatic patients, according to the Health Ministry.
The country's case tally passed 2.48 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 26,117, with 124 fatalities over the past day.