In brief

Erdogan, in favour of drafting new Constitution for Turkey

President’s far-right ruling partner calls for amendment to ban pro-Kurdish HDP party

Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Author: Cancillería del Perú @ Flickr
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that his AKP party (conservative Islamist) is considering starting the process for drafting a new constitution for the Eurasian country. The proposal has received support of its ruling partner, the MHP (far-right Turkish ultranationalist).

According to the Turkish leader, a “civilian” and “democratic” Constitution must be drafted to replace the current one, and allow the country to face the challenges of the future.

The Turkish Constitution dates from 1982, when it was approved during the period of the military junta that was imposed on the country after the 1980 coup. However, the text has been amended 19 times since, including the passage from a parliamentary system to a presidential one in 2017, sponsored by Erdogan himself.

Critics of Erdogan fear that the new Constitution will bring Turkey closer to the authoritarian, Islamist and Turkish nationalist model sponsored by the AKP and MHP.

The Kurdish movement also fears that a new Constitution will further restrict political, social, and cultural life in Kurdistan. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli proposed the introduction of constitutional amendments a few weeks ago to “indefinitely” outlaw the main pro-Kurdish party, the HDP.

The proposal for a new Constitution could also be, according to several analysts, a maneuver by Erdogan to prevent the consolidation of a strong opposition bloc that would contest Erdogan’s power in the 2023 parliamentary and presidential elections.

The AKP and MHP do not have enough MPs to push for reform, but they could seek the support of small parties and independents, as well as pressuring the main opposition party, the CHP (kemalists with center and center-left leanings) to agree to negotiate a new Constitution.