Back 5 - Next 

A liberal promise (September 2007)

Ergun Ozbudun, constitutional expert
Ergun Ozbudun, constitutional expert

After this clear popular verdict, Turkey's political turmoil appeared to be at an end. The AKP had a comfortable majority in parliament. In August, the Government announced that work would begin on a new, so-called "civilian" constitution, based on the protection of individual rights rather than the statist ideology that had prevailed in the Turkish Republic since its founding. There had been widespread calls for constitutional reform from Turkish civil society, and of course from the EU.

The AKP charged Ergun Ozbudun, a well-known professor of constitutional law at Bilkent University in Ankara, to set up a working group to prepare a draft constitution. Ozbudun chose Levent Koker, Yavuz Atar, Fazil Husnu Erdem, Serap Yazici and Zuhtu Arslan. While the group members are not politicians, they can best be described as liberal academics with an interest in introducing European standards into Turkey. (Hurriyet 31 August 2007).

The working group presented its draft constitution in September 2007. Consultations with the bar associations, universities, NGOs and journalists followed. The Ozbudun draft was based on a very different political philosophy than the current constitution. This was obvious right from the preamble. The current constitution begins as follows:

"In line with the concept of nationalism and the reforms and principles introduced by the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Ataturk, the immortal leader and the unrivalled hero, this Constitution, which affirms the eternal existence of the Turkish nation and motherland and the indivisible unity of the Turkish state, embodies

 Back 5 - Next