Constitution Platform

Constitutional Consensus Platform

21.12.2012 - Read: 3865
Constitutional Consensus Platform

Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation formed “Constitutional Consensus Platform” in 2007 on the purpose of finding answer for the guestion of “How should be a new constitution?”. Academicians from Law Faculties of Universities from Turkey, NGOs, Media, representatives of law societies and unions have specified sine qua non main principles of the Constitution in the meetings of Constitutional Consensus Platform for approximately 4 years. It is unexpected that a NGO issues a constitution. The important point is consensus of all segments of society on the main principles that are proper for 21 century and are sensitive for Turkey. It is easy to draught after having an agreement on main principles. In this regard, Constitutional Consensus Platform which is coordinated by Marmara Group Foundation presents to the attention of the society the study about irreplaceable, main principles of The Constitution with a wide concensus.

The Opinions and The Suggestions of The Marmara Group Strategic and Social Researches Foundation on the New Constitution.

Constitutions consist of provisions of law which embody basic principles and institutions of the state and guarantee rights of persons. A democratic constitution is a social contract that all segments of society agree on. A constitution which is formed according to only society’s some segment, neither can prevent public peace nor stand for a long time. A Constitution can only provide coherent state organs, protect citizens’ rights and provide internal peace only if it is internalized, protected and glorified by all segments of society. A constitution which is not embraced by all parts of society as “my constitution” can not run its functions properly.

A constitution which has qualification of a social contract should have some characteristics both in preparation process and content. When we asses new constitution building process which is started by the initiative by government, we consider underlining these points as a our civic duty.

Building Process of Constitution

A constitution which is embraced by all citizens can only rise in an environment which is free and democratic and it only can build with an method which all segments of society joined to process of constitution building. 1982 Constitution built in an environment which was not democratic and without free debate occasion and this is one of the most criticized feature of 1982 Constitution.

Healthiest way for building an democratic constitution is to make constitution text written by an Constituent Assembly which should be chosen according to proportional representation and be authorized for this subject. Constituent Assembly which is going to represent all segments of society and can create a constitution text which considers long-term benefits of nation and has characteristics of social contract. For an text which is capable of uniting different opinions we need a environment for free debate and reasonable amount of time.

Content of Constitution

A Constitution that is going guide Turkey trough 21st century should preserve acquisitions of Republic, improve these acquisitions with new principles and institutions and should not include some arrangements that might banish Turkey from it’s target of pluralist-libertarian democracy.

Rule of Law

1982 Constitution did not secure independence of judgment and that was one of the reasons of criticizes towards the Constitution. New constitution should strengthen independence of judgment which is part of separation of powers and a requirement for working democracy. Now, government has a very important role at determining of formation of Judges and Prosecutors High Committee which is most important body of execution of jurisdiction. These institutions are going to be a place for political quarrel when government use it’s appointment authorization. High courts might completely bound to government. Independent judgment is insurance of democracy and rule of law. Jurisdiction which is bound to government is a dangerous step that might undermine democratization process of Turkey and detach our country from civilized world.

Principle of Secularism

Principle of secularism is basic insurance of democracy and different life styles. Giving way to various rules that are going to harm principle of secularism will cause uncertainty about that subject. Compromising from secularism is not going to help to solve any problem of Turkey. Turkey is an prestigious and strong country in the region because of it’s secular and democratic characteristic. Secularism which is insurance of social peace, freedom of belief and a modern society order which is organized according to reason and science is one of the most important acquisition of the Republic.

Turkish society growth generations who internalized principle of secularism. Today’s generation, who are aware of their rights and responsibilities, are worried because they think compromising principle of secularism can threaten modern way of life. Controversies about principle of secularism is undermining our country which should direct all of it’s energy to development, improvement and creating a welfare society.

Principle of Social State

More than 40 years, Turkey has constitutional rules that nominates states to provide humanely living standards to its citizens. Principle of social state and social rights in our constitution are indispensable tools for honorable life standards.  Social rights in current constitution did not implemented adequately. Current globalization process is already effecting social rights in a negative manner. New constitution should strengthen social rights by considering this phenomenon.

Equality of Men and Women

One of the most important acquisitions of the Republic are steps that are taken towards equality between men and women.

Turkish women wants to have equal rights with men in all areas. They demand elimination of inequalities in parliament, municipalities, all public bodies, taking public service and benefiting public resources. Providing equal opportunities to men and women in all areas is a project of Republic and it is also a moral responsibility and criteria of civilization. 

Pluralism

Modern democracy is pluralist democracy. In pluralist democracies government is only one of the powers that administers country. Judicial bodies, parliament, autonomous institutes, professional institutions that have public body property, unions, civil society organizations like associations are also effective in state administration directly or indirectly. Government is responsible for providing these actors an ground that is suitable for harmonious works and directing these actors under constitutional principles. Turkey should internalize all institutions of pluralist-libertarian democracy.

Human Rights

One of the basic speciliaty of modern democratic state is to let every citizen to benefit from all human rights. One of the most important function of consitutions is to guarantee rights and freedoms of citizens. New constitution should consider new dangers that emergened in 3rd millenia againist human dignity and should take necessary measures againist new dangers.

Need for Reforms

Turkey needs serious reforms in order to develop and walk in the way of modern civilization. It is obvious that current constitution is not a modern document that can guide Turkey trough 21st century, so new constitution have to improve that subject. New constitution should regulate state affairs, but also it should guide economical, social and cultural advancement of society.

Constitution suggestion should restrict parliamentary immunity like in modern countries, make political parties more democratic with restricting leader authority, provide gender equality, regulate election system in more fair way and improve citizens rights.

New constitution should not risk acquistions of Republic, social rights, superiority of law, independence of judgment and congenial system of state; conversely it should be an contract of peace and assurance.

Sincerely,

MARMARA GROUP STRATEGIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION

October 24 2011