20Q&20A: Turkey’s new constitution,
(1) What sort of problems does the continued existence of the 1982 constitution pose for Turkey?
Both socially and politically speaking, the 1982 constitution was drafted with a mindset that completely validated the old paradigm. To clarify, it is a text that was drafted with a view on life as seen through the lens of “national security.” This reached a critical point due to the language used in the text of the Constitution’s preamble, which bestowed on the government a stature reserved for a sacred entity. While most of the provisional amendments, particularly those concerning rights and freedoms, may have been considered a step in the right direction, it is safe to say that their force and impact were margin- al. In other words, the influence of the prevailing climate in which the 1982 constitution came into being has persevered, both in terms of the Constitution’s concrete provisions and the perceptions it has fostered.
For these reasons, it is crucial that this grand symbol of the Sept. 12 spirit be completely eradicated. The preparation involved in drafting the “new” constitution takes precedence in shaping such decisive action. However, this will not be the final chapter, but rather the beginning of a new process.
(2) Do you believe that the level of Turkey’s social, political and judicial maturity is sufficient to overhaul the 1982 constitution?
For me, the question is more about the preparation of an entirely new constitution, rather than “an overhaul of the 1982 constitution.” In the study of law and politics, the intent to draft a new constitution represents an act of self-determination by the people of a particular country. This is a concept that has been recognized as a human right for almost half a century. It is not necessary, therefore, to await the arrival of a certain set of circumstances for the public to make their intentions known. Treating the issue of drafting the new constitution as a right would dispel the controversy of the “principal founding government.” My answer to your question, then, is affirmative.
(3) What are your thoughts on the opposition parties’ preconditions for negotiation of a new constitution?