President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he aims to liberate Türkiye's Constitution from coup-era military tutelage ideology and revive it with a civilian and libertarian constitution on the centenary of the republic.
Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara on Monday, the president noted that constitutional amendments were one of the priorities of the new government, elected in June.
Since 1982, the current Constitution, drafted following a military coup, has seen several amendments. The bloody 1980 coup, which led to the detention of hundreds of thousands of people along with mass trials, torture and executions, still represents a dark period in Turkish political history.
The proposed changes focus on the topics of freedom, the right to security, the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech as well as the rights of women and the disabled. The enhancement of these rights and liberties has seen setbacks in the bureaucracy that have prevented these rights and liberties from being implemented properly. The plan has been prepared in accordance with the observations and reports of the international mechanisms that monitor human rights in cooperation with several human rights groups.
Some of the other principles of the plan are human dignity, as the essence of all rights, under the active protection of the law; the equal, impartial and honest provision of public services to everyone; the rule of law shall be fortified in all areas as a safeguard for rights and freedoms, and no one may be deprived of liberty due to criticism or expression of thought.
He also noted that the Turkish Parliament will debate the headscarf and protection of family issues once it resumes sessions in the fall. Article 24 of the Constitution regulates the "freedom of religion and conscience," while Article 41 regulates the "protection of the family and children's rights."
Erdoğan has been calling on political parties to create the necessary constitutional regulations to protect the legal framework surrounding women's freedom to wear a headscarf.
in January, the Parliament’s constitutional committee ratified the amendment that guarantees the constitutional right to wear the headscarf and redefines marriage in more concrete terms, paving the way for the amendment to land in Parliament.
In response to the Republican People's Party's (CHP) previous call to amend constitutional rights regarding the choice to wear a headscarf in public life, Erdoğan said: "Let's provide the solution at the level of the Constitution, not the law."
Turkish headscarf-wearing women have long struggled under laws that prevented them from wearing headscarves at schools as students and in public institutions as professionals, despite the prevalence of headscarf-wearing women in the country. The CHP had fueled anti-headscarf sentiment among the people and supported laws banning it.
The issue of the headscarf ban held an important place in public and political debates in Türkiye throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
The headscarf ban in Türkiye was first implemented widely in the 1980s but became stricter after 1997 when the military forced the conservative government to resign in an incident later dubbed the Feb. 28 "postmodern coup."
Türkiye's Parliament lifted a ban on female students wearing the headscarf at university in 2008 in a move championed by Erdoğan and which the CHP lawmakers, including Kılıçdaroğlu, had sought unsuccessfully to block in the constitutional court.
In 2013, Türkiye lifted a ban on women wearing headscarves in state institutions under reforms that the government said were designed to bolster democracy.
The Palestinian president's meeting with Hamas political chief in Türkiye has a "different dimension," President Erdoğan said, reiterating support for the Palestinian cause and the struggle of the Palestinian people.
"We hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara. On this occasion, we once again renewed our strong support for the Palestinian cause and the struggle of the Palestinian people," Erdoğan said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
On July 27, Erdoğan held a closed-door meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas group's political chief.
"The meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh, hosted by our country, added a different dimension to this visit," Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan added Türkiye would welcome Palestinians resolving their differences.
Ankara strongly supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.