The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to start the new year with a new plan after the tension of 2012, which will end with budget negotiations in Parliament. The AKP’s 2013 targets cover many radical regulations on various crucial matters.
Doubtlessly, the details of the plans have not been fully unveiled yet. But as I have inferred from the whispers, Turkish politics will have to make important decisions in the new year about the basic concepts that will form the skeleton of the country.
The AKP’s first move in the new year will be to make decisions with regard to the new Constitution. The AKP’s approach to that subject is clarified, and it seems that it has not been possible to make progress in Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission.In January, the ruling party is likely to end the commission and restart negotiations with a party with which it can agree. The party knows that if progress cannot be achieved with regards to the new Constitution by October 2013, hopes to form a new Constitution will be in vain.
“The budget negotiations will start after October 2013, and preparations for local elections will start in March 2014. The opposition had better not keep us busy. If a four-party consensus is not reached, other options must be given a chance,” AKP deputy Mustafa Şentop said. Otherwise, the new Constitution cannot be made, according to him. It is evident that the AKP is planning to find a new partner and implement the new Constitution with alternative referenda packages.
At this point, the most controversial issue will be the AKP’s partner. Seemingly, this partner will not be the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also seems reluctant to do that, but in the past he has acted together with the AKP for some constitutional changes. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), on the other hand, seems willing to negotiate.
The second target of the AKP is to change Parliament’s inner legislation. The opposition formerly reacted against the change introduced by the AKP on the grounds that they were “voiced down,” and major controversies arose in the General Board. Upon that, the AKP had to withdraw its proposal. The ruling party is in search of a four-party consensus this time, but it still preserves the idea of limiting the speech durations at the group proposals. The commission will start working after the new year.
The ruling party also wants to handle the fourth judicial package in the first half of the new year. Preparations for the package, which are being led by Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, was formerly suspended due to some deficiencies.
The draft suggested the “violence” criterion be operative in terror crimes, which means that new conditions would be brought for the charges of acting on behalf of and making propaganda of a terrorist organization for those who were not involved in violent acts. However, some ministers objected to that since it could be understood as a form of amnesty.
Another subject that will mark 2013 seems to be the Kurdish issue. There are differing viewpoints on this subject among AKP members. In his latest meeting Erdoğan held with the deputies of the east and south, some concerns were clearly expressed.
The foundation of a new political party, the Free Cause Party (Hüda-Par), by the supporters of Hizbullah, which is strong in the region along with the BDP, has raised concerns among Kurds from the AKP. This concern was also shared with Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip Erdoğan during the meeting.
The AKP put “the right to defense in mother tongue” on its January agenda, but the draft is suspended in the general board.
If the atmosphere does not grow tense, the files of political immunities could also be postponed through commissions. Otherwise, the Constitutional Justice Joint Commission will start working in the new year.
DIPLOMATIC MOVE FROM CHP LEADER
The main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu is conducting a diplomatic tour of various countries beginning this week. Kılıçdaroğlu will pay a series of visits to countries including Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, China and Cuba, although it has been said that the visit to Palestine is not yet certain. The opposition leader wants to join Socialist International in Cuba supposedly due in part to Erdoğan’s criticisms. It has also been said that Kılıçdaroğlu’s trip will cover certain European capitals.
Ankara celebrated the U.N. upgrade of Palestine to “non-member observer state” status last week with a joyful dinner organized in honor of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The AKP’s İzmir deputy Rıfat Sait, who is of Kosovan origin, was among the guests at the dinner. “I hope Kosovo will be next after Palestine,” Sait said to Erdoğan. Erdoğan asked how many countries recognized Kosovo, to which Sait responded 92 countries. Erdoğan said he also wished the country would be internationally recognized soon.