‘Turkey constitutional reform also aimed at stopping Kurdish politics’

Abdulbaki Erdogmus

Abdulbaki Erdogmus, former mufti (Islamic scholar) and Diyarbakir parliamentarian for Turgut Özal’s centre-right Motherland Party (ANAP), evaluated Turkey’s constitutional reform as being an issue not only concerning the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) or one-man rule but also as a way for the state to stop Kurdish politics.

“One has to analyse the situation in relation to the June elections,” Erdogmus, an important name in conservative politics, said to Dihaber. “When the Kurdish political movement forcefully entered parliament [by surpassing the 10% threshold] and the democratic political forces gained strength, important bodies of the state were struck with anxiety and worry,” he said.

The Islamic scholar went onto say it was a matter considering established order rather than one man and one party. “Turkey has made an important decision. The previous coups were carried out by the military; today it is done by the parliament.”

“While the state has agreed to a regime change, there are some actors that haven’t, also within the state. They want Turkey’s future to be about peace, democracy and freedom. They know that the further away from democracy Turkey moves, the more the risk of disintegration increases,” Erdogmus said.

An 18 article constitutional change proposed by the AKP and supported by the nationalist MHP was approved in parliament in January and is expected to go to a nationwide referendum in early April.

Critics have said the comprehensive changes will erode the checks and balances and consolidate power in the hands of the current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The AKP claims the constitutional reform will strengthen Turkey in its fight against internal and external threats.