Global Insider: Turkey’s Constitution Should Seek to Protect Rights First

Last month, a Turkish parliamentary committee charged with drafting a new Turkish constitution agreed to articles to expand opportunities for women and protect homosexuals from discrimination. In an email interview, Dr. Aslan Amani, a political scientist specializing in democratic theory, explained the recent trajectory of and future priorities for Turkey’s constitution writing process.*

WPR: What is the current state of Turkey's efforts to replace the constitution written under military rule in 1980?

Aslan Amani: So far, the Constitution Consensus Committee has made the most progress on the sections dealing with fundamental rights and freedoms. However, the commission members remain polarized on the articles concerning the definition of citizenship, official language(s) and the separation of powers. Many observers expected the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to impose a time limit on the committee, after which the AKP could put its Plan B to work—present its own draft to the parliament, and eventually to a popular referendum. However, it appears that the Gezi protests have rendered the government's Plan B more risky than originally thought. There could be further delays because of the possible foreign intervention in Syria and the upcoming Turkish municipal elections in March 2014.

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