By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- On Thursday, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at the 2022-2023 Judicial Year Opening Ceremony at the Supreme Court in Ankara and reiterated his call for reforming the Turkish Constitution. The Turkish leader said the top priority is to “renew the Attorneyship Law. Our goal is to strengthen the right to defense.” The Turkish president explained: “We are planning to introduce ‘legal protection insurance,’ which is known as legal insurance and has applications in different countries, to Türkiye as well.” He explained that the goal is to rewrite the current constitution which he emphasized was conceived after the 1982 military coup. Erdogan reiterated: “As stated in its Constitution, Türkiye is a democratic, secular and social state of law. The ‘state of law,’ which is the common ground of all our state’s characteristics specified in our Constitution, is an emphasis of utmost importance with historical origins. In the past 20 years, we have made significant reforms to strengthen our country’s characteristic as a state of law.”
The Turkish leader stressed that he wants his country to have a civilian-drafted constitution by 2023 to coincide with the centennial celebration of the founding of the Turkish Republic. Erdogan told the conference that in 2021, “we once again called on political parties to get our country a new constitution.” He added that a draft was prepared for negotiations but that the request was ignored nor could any other political party present a concrete draft for a new constitution. Erdogan also referred to the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in explaining that he wants an accessible and effective justice system which has so far eluded the Turkish Republic for decades. In 2021, Ankara announced its action plan and a human rights action plan for Türkiye, whose goal is to strengthen rights protections, individual freedoms and security, judicial independence, personal privacy, transparency and property rights as well as protecting vulnerable groups and enhancing administrative and social awareness of human rights. The Turkish leader said that his government has created a separate unit within the Justice Ministry to work on rights and services to be offered to all victims of crime, especially children.