Erdogan wants ‘completely new constitution’ for Turkey

Presidential aide tells Al Jazeera that current constitution has “lost its essence and became full of details”.

The AK Party is still 13 seats short of the 330 required to call a referendum on any constitutional change [AFP]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party, AK Party, scored a stunning victory in the weekend’s parliamentary election, wants to push for “a completely new constitution” for the country and more powers for the president, one of his aides has told Al Jazeera.

On Sunday, the AK Party, which Erdogan founded, gained back the majority it lost in a previous election just five months ago.

The president has limited constitutional powers and Erdogan has several times voiced support for constitutional changes that would give him the ability to govern.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Ibrahim Kalin, a presidential spokesman said, said: “The current constitution has been amended many times [since it was first drafted in 1980] to the extent that it lost its essence and became full of details.

“Usually, a constitution is condensed and brief. It is restricted to the political structure and the basic rights and freedom.”

Kalin said the country could hold a referendum on the constitution after consultations with the different political parties.

‘Jump up a league’

Sunday’s surprise win marked a turnaround for Erdogan, potentially allowing him to move ahead with plans to consolidate his grip on Turkish politics.

Earlier, Kalin told reporters on Wednesday that Erdogan believes a presidential system giving the head of state sweeping powers would make Turkey “jump up a league.”

“What is the best model for us? Taking into consideration the results of the November 1 election, this is something that will be settled by asking the people,” Kalin said.

“This debate cannot be considered independently from the people. If the mechanism is a referendum then a referendum can take place.”

The party, however, is still 13 seats short of the 330 required to call a referendum on any constitutional change and all the three main opposition parties are strongly against such a move.

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Kalin did not say how those limitations could be overcome and it was not clear if the AK Party would try to seek the support of the other parties despite their objections.

In a speech to local administrators on Wednesday, Erdogan called on all parties represented in parliament to contribute to the writing of a new constitution for Turkey, but did not make a direct reference to the presidential system he wants.

Erdogan also said Turkey will keep up its fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, until the rebel group is “eliminated”.

Renewed fighting between the rebels and Turkey’s security forces has derailed a fragile peace process and killed hundreds of people since July.

“The period ahead is not for talks or discussions. I say this clear: it is a period for getting results,” Erdogan said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies