Turkish constitutional committee discusses restructuring judicial council, increasing parliamentary terms
With Parliament's Constitutional Committee continuing to meet in efforts to discuss the articles included in the mini-constitution legislative package, the committee met on Friday to prepare writing the draft document on the agreed amendments. The Constitutional Committee, which meets to define and negotiate the articles to be included in the package, is expected to finalize work on the draft and present it to the party chairmen prior to Qurban Bayram (Feast of the Sacrifice) on Sept 12. The committee also listened to representatives' presentations from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) as HSYK members answered questions from Constitutional Committee members during Thursday's meeting.
Speaking to Milliyet daily, one of the committee members indicated they believe amendments to additional articles are likely to be agreed in the first round of talks. However, the same source stated that an agreement on the amendments cannot be made without a written draft, and it was reported that members of the committee aim to present the draft document to party leaders. Composing the draft will start tomorrow or on Sept. 9 at the latest.
According to sources, representatives from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) and National Movement Party (MHP) at the committee have discussed the period of parliamentary elections that are currently held every four years and has proposed they be held every five years. While the period of parliamentary elections was an unexpected topic on the committee's agenda, the current deputies will not be effected by the amendment as they are to stay in the post for four years.
Additionally to parliamentary elections, AK Party members in the committee suggested changing the dates of all upcoming elections where municipal elections would originally be held in the spring of 2019, presidential elections in August 2019 and the parliamentary elections in November of 2019. The AK Party members proposed spreading out all three elections within a three-year period due to Turkey going through a critical period after the failed coup attempt. It has been reported by sources close to the AK Party that the opposition party members in the committee are in favor of the proposal.
Another significant topic on the agenda of the Constitutional Committee is the division of the HSYK into the Supreme Board of Judges and the Supreme Board of Prosecutors, where all three parties are reportedly in favor of the proposal. While the HSYK currently operates under three units, it will work under one unit only with the division. The closure of the military court of appeals and military high administrative courts will be another topic on the Constitutional Committee's agenda. It has further been reported that decreasing the size of the National Security Council (MGK) where the position of the Commander of the Turkish gendarmerie forces is being discussed a possibly removed from the MGK.