Ankara to work with opposition on new constitution: Turkey PM

July 26, 2016 6:30 am

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (AFP)

Turkish
Prime Minster Binali Yildirim says his government is ready to work with
opposition parties on drafting a new constitution.

Yildirim
made the announcement on Monday, following a meeting between Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and two opposition leaders.
Earlier
in the day, Erdogan met with Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader
Kemal Kilicdaroglu and the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP),
Devlet Bahceli.

(L-R)
’s Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet
Bahceli, Chairman of Republican People’s Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu,
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice
and Development Party (AKP) Binali Yildirim posing during a meeting at
Presidential Complex in on July 25,2016. (AFP)

“All
the main parties are ready to start work on a new constitution,” said
Yildirim, adding that the first steps would be slight amendment to the
current constitution in relation to the recent failed coup.
“There will be a small change to remove obstacles from the constitution and the work is underway to do this,” he said.
The
head of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin
Demirtas, was not present at the meeting, but Yildirim said that the HDP
would also be part of talks on the new constitution.
Erdogan
has on various occasions hinted that the death penalty may be
reintroduced in Turkey to allow the execution of those involved in the
coup bid.  
The putsch began
overnight on July 15, when rebel soldiers declared they were in control
of the country and the Ankara administration was no more in charge.
Tanks, helicopters and soldiers then clashed with police and people on
the streets of the capital and Istanbul.
The
coup was gradually suppressed by military forces and people loyal to
Erdogan. More than 300 people were killed from both sides, many of them
on July 16.

An
armed Turkish police officer stands guard in front of the damaged
Ankara police headquarters on July 19, 2016, after it was bombed during
the failed July 15 coup attempt. (AFP)

What do the people want?
Meanwhile,
Erdogan said that the people of Turkey want the death penalty restored,
despite multiple calls by EU officials that such a move would halt the
country’s EU accession.
“What do the (Turkish) people say today?” asked the Turkish president during an interview with German television station ARD.

“They
want the death penalty reintroduced. And we as the government must
listen to what the people say. We can’t say ‘no, that doesn’t interest
us,'” he added.

The Death penalty was annulled in Turkey in 2004 under reforms aimed at joining the European Union.
Earlier,
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (seen below) has said that
any accession talks with Turkey would be halted if Ankara restored the
death penalty.

“I
believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to
become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period,” he
said during a TV broadcast.
Last week, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini,
Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and German Chancellor Angela
Merkel all stressed that Turkey would be barred from joining the bloc
if it reintroduces the death penalty.

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