New constitution in the new year

The 1982 Constitution has been in force for 28 years with some trivial and significant amendments.

Five parliamentary elections have been held and 16 governments have been established under it. All of them were civilian administrations, but none of them were bothered by living with this shame. The duty of saving Turkey from this shame and this stalemate has belonged to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for the last seven years. But they have been unable to fulfill it.
Advocates of the AK Party like to talk about the new Turkey. The part it played in the emergence of a new Turkey cannot be denied, but a new Turkey cannot exist without a new constitution.

In 2010, the government must address the task of mobilizing all groups in Turkey in order to save the country from the coup Constitution drafted by the generals. The new constitution cannot be drafted without an all-inclusive consensus. They must exploit all possible means and, if necessary, agree to meet with Deniz Baykal in front of cameras in order to obtain this consensus.

There are two fundamental issues in Turkey. The first is a failure to reach an agreement on a definition of secularism acceptable to all groups, and the second is the Kurdish issue. All actual problems that cause the country to lose time and energy are repercussions of these two fundamental issues.

A new constitution drafted through an all-inclusive consensus is vital for solving these problems. Now is not the right time to place a priority on problems that are perceived as the party's primary issues of concern, such as the headscarf issue or the coefficient issue. Indeed, these are small calculations that do not befit Turkey.

The AK Party is at an important crossroads. It will either pave the way for a new constitution and clear the mines in front of the country, or it will be crushed by this structure it fails to change despite its overwhelming popular support.

The only way to solve the headscarf ban, which is not acceptable under the universal rule of law or reason, logic or conscience, and the Kurdish issue, which has been hindering the country's progress, is to draft a new constitution. A new constitution is the compulsory road, not just a preferred one, for Turkey.

A new, contemporary, civilian and democratic constitution will endow us with the capability to overcome the stalemate in two basic issues: the Kurdish initiative and the European Union.

2010 is the start of new hopes for Turkey.

Having managed to get through the global financial crisis with minor damage compared to the rest of the world, Turkey holds immense promise for economic growth in 2010. The projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank depict Turkey as one of the economies with the highest growth potential in 2010.

Can we say that this optimism regarding the economy also applies to Turkish politics in 2010, particularly when the Kurdish initiative is blocked and the EU train is passing through a dark tunnel?

A new constitution would be new blood pumped into the veins of politics in this matter. A mentality that thinks, "My party and I may lose if the country is to win," cannot and should not say, "The opposition does not want a new constitution."

If there is a historic opportunity for Turkey -- and we believe there is -- then the way to use this opportunity is to establish a new political, administrative and legal order. This implies that we need a new constitution. It should be noted that a historic opportunity is like a star above the sky that will shine for a moment before going away. It will not wait for you for all eternity.

It seems that whether the AK Party's term in office is to be extended is dependent upon whether they make use of this opportunity.

They have undertaken so many good steps, but they have failed to provide the country a new constitution. We hope that they will save the country from this shame in 2010.

02 January 2010, Saturday