“No Constitution without Us” meeting
80 representatives from 62 organizations participated in “No Constitution without Us” meeting held on December 17 by the Association of Civil Society Development Centre with support of the Olof Palme Centre. In the meeting, works to prepare a road map were performed so as to increase participation of non- governmental organizations in the process of civil constitution.
In the opening speech of the meeting which aimed to draw an action plan so as to strengthen participation of non- governmental organization in the process of new constitution, Ayça Haykır, General Coordinator of STGM said, “We are here to give a common voice together with our differences and different ideas. We are hoping to build a process which will be adopted by all the non-governmental organizations at the end of the meeting.”
We can build a democratic system through the new constitution
In the meeting proceeding with briefing on the new constitution drafting process by Levent Korkut, the Chairman of the Board of the Association of Civil Society Development Centre, Korkut drew attention to Turkey’s place
in the World Democracy Index and stated that a new constitution was required for democratization. He said, “The new constitution can be a beginning. Constitution does not mean everything but it can be a main basis or ground. It is possible to build a democratic system on it.” After he expressed that the target could be reached if all the parts of the society were organized in this process and headed for a more democratic Turkey, he gave information about the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission which is active in The Grand National Assembly of Turkey.(TBMM)
Taking the floor after Levent Korkut, Sunay Demircan, the member of STGM said, “we need to make a new action plan in order for the non-governmental organizations to be involved in the new constitution process”, and he pointed out that they could be involved in the process through the fields agreed upon. Sunay Demircan stated that they would make group works so as to determine these fields and an action plan would be prepared with participation of all the organizations at the end of the day and Emrah Kırımsoy took the floor afterwards and presented “Policy Document on Participation in the Constitution Process” of the “Key Initiative” and gave various examples from the world and informed regarding their works. Emphasizing that ethic rules should be determined in this process, Kırımsoy pointed out that mechanisms to get opinions in writing and from the Internet should be spread and new methods should be developed so as to get opinions from the individuals not involved in any organizations. In the second session of the meeting, the representatives of the non-governmental organizations conducted group works moderated by Hakan Adanır, Serdar Denktaş and Sinem Mısıroğlu and they looked for answers to these two questions: “What should be included in the new constitution?” and “what are the risks before the new constitution drafting process?” After the results of the group works were evaluated by the participants, the last group works were conducted in order to prepare an action plan to exclude the risks and “not-to-do”s from the process.
Civil platform for the civil constitution
As a result of the group work, a consensus was reached regarding that the new constitution should not be discriminating, placing guardianship, authoritarian and state-centric. In addition, some risks stood out in the meeting as follows: it is thought that the issue does not remain on the agenda enough; there is lack of positive atmosphere in respect of reconciliation; the process is not transparent; a participatory process has not been established; there is hastiness and the social representation was not able to be reflected in the commission. The representatives of the non-governmental organizations stated that various works should be conducted at the local and international levels so as to involve all the parts of the society in the process, ensure transparency and submit
the demands properly. They agreed on activation of several mechanisms, in particular the platform, in order to carry out these works properly and in coordination.
Based on the result of the meeting, the Association of Civil Society Development Centre will make an action plan in the following days and works will commence with all the non-governmental organizations willing to participate in the process pursuant to their approval.