Stalemate: Is A New Constitution Impossible?

The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs held its first debate on Tuesday over a draft report concerning Turkey that is full of serious warnings for Ankara, which the draft says has lost its ambition for political reform…

Dutch Christian Democrat parliamentarian Ria Oomen-Ruijten, who authored the draft report, [said] “We expect implementation from Turkey, not commitments.” … [S]he called on the Turkish government to vigorously promote its earlier promises for comprehensive constitutional reform….

[HOWEVERA senior government official recently told Today’s Zaman that changing the Constitution had become next to impossible since the Constitutional Court annulled a constitutional amendment passed in Parliament that would have removed a nearly two-decade-long ban on wearing headscarves on Turkish university campuses.

Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek said at the time… that since the Constitutional Court annulled the headscarf amendment, not on procedural grounds but on “substance,” it had set a precedent — namely, that it can overturn any law passed in Parliament, greatly limiting the legislature’s powers. “Changing the Constitution has now become as difficult as moving a mountain,” he said.

When the court announced its opinion on the ruling in late October, it sparked widespread criticism that it overstepped its powers and encroached on Parliament’s territory. Many have concluded that deciding to overrule constitutional amendments which had been properly passed on procedural grounds is tantamount to blocking Parliament from making any future constitutional amendments without the court’s approval…. (click for full article)

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