Kemal Okuyan: Ruling AKP does not have competence to make new constitution

Kemal Okuyan, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey, answered the journalist İskender Özturanlı’s questions about the ongoing debate on the possible new constitution.
Tuesday, 16 February 2021 15:19

Okuyan stated that the ruling AKP’s biggest expectation was to revise the principle of secularism and such an attempt should be firmly reacted against. According to him, the AKP wanted to further introduce new articles with religious references to the constitution of 1980, which brought about various bans on labour rights, including right to strike. 

He also stated that involvement of mainstream political parties with the debate on a new constitution divided the social and political opposition since the AKP’s ruling of the country for 20 years did not grant the AKP competence to make a new constitution. Therefore, he insisted on the refusal to debate a new constitution. 

Turkey urgently needs a new social order 

‘The AKP is constantly looking for a new debate. However, this new constitution has a place in the AKP’s vision of new Turkey. Because the AKP needs to legitimise what it has done to the country. The AKP also thinks how to divide the mainstream political parties and movements.’

‘The position has to be clear that the AKP does not have competence to make a new constitution. Yes, Turkey needs a new constitution but Turkey urgently needs a new social order. The AKP’s new constitution will regress Turkey even further backwards.’

‘The debate on the new constitution is a trap but the position has to be totally against the possibility of revising the principle of secularism. The country has many problems, secularism cannot be the only problem? The AKP has a problem with secularism. I think the AKP will introduce religious references in the legal system. We might even discuss the possibility of caliphate but the principle of secularism prevents it. We cannot say we cannot deal with it. Other issues pertaining to human and labour rights were resolved in the constitution of 1980. For example, the right to strike depends on certain conditions so that it is suspended in reality. Constitutions are renewed after revolutions or counter-revolutions.’ 

The principle of unity of powers and the spirit of the constitution of 1921 

‘A counter-revolution happened with the coup of 1980. One cannot make a constitution of counter-revolution out of the constitution of counter-revolution. One should make a constitution of revolution. The constitutions of 1921 and 1924 were constitutions of a revolution. We need to stand against a new constitution [to be made by the AKP]. The working class of Turkey needs to stand up for a new constitution [of revolution].’ 

‘The AKP is talking about the spirit of the constitution of 1921. The principle of separation of powers has been taught as the basis of democracy. However, the principle of unity of powers is the basis of democracy. The separation of powers strengthens executive power against legislative power. The constitution of 1921 has the principle of unity of power, and our revolutionary constitution will have it too. People will be organised and vote on the Parliament, supervise it, and make it withdraw if necessary.’ 

AKP cannot be stopped with the Parliamentary system 

‘Every constitution has a vision of society and social order. What does President Erdoğan promise except going to space. Any political party working on a new constitution needs to promise something. We say our new popular constitution will erase unemployment, encompass every citizen within social security, make electricity, shelter, education, and health free and accessible by every citizen. These are human rights. What can the AKP say about this? The AKP prevents people from going outside, it rejects people, but it is talking about space. The AKP only wants to make things easier for itself. The AKP cannot be stopped with the Parliamentary system.’

‘The Parliamentary system cannot solve these problems. How will we strengthen the parliamentary system, in favour of capitalists or working classes?’ 

The principle of secularism is an obstacle against religionisation 

‘How is the principle of secularism an obstacle against religionisation? The AKP pursues religionisation but this is against the principle of secularism. The AKP wants to Islamise the legal system. The AKP will introduce extra-judicial elements in the constitution.’ 

‘The AKP says 2023. We say let’s reinforce the Republic on the basis of equality in 2023. We can do this. We cannot go forward with balancing the AKP. We need to answer what we want. I suggest our audience read the Communist Party of Turkey’s popular constitution, it says let’s build this country together. Do you want to live in this darkness or in a luminous society?’ 

‘Turkey should get something other than the constitution of 1980 and the AKP’s new constitution.’