Turkish Press Review

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Wednesday dailies cover collapse of Turkey’s new constitution committee following dispute over presidential system

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

Turkish papers on Wednesday covered the walking out by opposition party members Tuesday of the Turkish parliamentary committee, which had been authorized to plan a new constitution for the country.

“Desk collapses” was HURRIYET’s headline, which said a split over a potential presidential system had led to the dissolution of the constitutional commission.

The paper said the collapse of the group occurred after their third meeting in two weeks.

The Constitution Conciliation Committee of 12 deputies — three from each of Turkey’s four parliamentary parties — first met on Feb. 3 in a bid to redraw a constitution that dates back in parts to Turkey’s military regime of the 1980s.

MILLIYET said Parliamentary Speaker Ismail Kahraman announced the dissolution of the committee following the dispute between the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over the latter’s precondition for a parliamentary system.

“The commission is over as no consensus existed preliminary issues,” the paper quoted Kahraman as saying.

“Ends before it begins” VATAN wrote, saying the constitution committee disbanded after the remarks of CHP members whom the paper quoted as saying: “We do not want this commission to turn into a transition period for the presidential system.”

The AK Party aims to replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential model under a new constitution. However, opposition parties have repeatedly said they support the parliamentary system.

Omer Celik, AK Party deputy chairman, accused the CHP of sabotaging the process to draft a new charter, STAR published.

“To tell the truth, the CHP does not want to prepare a new constitution,” the paper quoted Celik as saying. “We want to write the first constitution of the new Turkey [but] they insist on the constitution of old Turkey.”

Celik called on the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to continue working together, the paper added.

According to CUMHURIYET, it is the insistence of AK Party on a new presidential system that put an end to the work of the constitution committee.

The paper said the CHP members left the commission saying they would not allow a discussion over the parliamentary system, under which Turkey has been ruled for 93 years.

In 2013, Turkey’s parliamentary parties formed a commission to draft a new constitution to replace the 34-year-old charter produced under the last military regime. The commission agreed on 60 articles before it disbanded.

Wednesday papers also reported on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism of the Western countries, which do not classify PYD — the terrorist PKK’s Syrian affiliate — as a terrorist organization.

Erdogan said that history would not forgive the West, which he said, “supported the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the YPG”, AKSAM wrote.

“I am specifically addressing our Western allies. PKK and its wings PYD and YPG are all terror organizations,” the paper quoted Erdogan as saying.

The Turkish president also harshly criticized those who “described Turkey’s retaliatory shelling of PYD targets in northern Syria as strikes on Kurdish people,” HABER TURK published.

“I call on those [people] to behave honestly,” the paper quoted him as saying.

The Turkish military has been shelling PYD positions in northern Syria for four consecutive days in response to artillery fire from PYD forces based around Azaz in northern Aleppo province. The town is six kilometers (four miles) from the Turkish border.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out at the Russian military operations in Syria, YENI SAFAK reported.

“Tyrants, vandals, rascals,” he stressed, asking in reference to Syria, “What do you want from these lands?”

He said Russian fighter jets were randomly shelling the area without distinguishing between civilians and the military.

“Russian warplanes are not only using smart bombs but they are using all their bomb stocks without thinking or estimating where they hit since they are trying to use up their expired bomb stock in their inventories,” the paper cited Davutoglu as saying.

Monday saw Russian warplanes targeting two schools and a hospital in Azaz; another hospital in Idlib managed by Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders was also hit that left more than 30 people, including women and children dead, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The paper also covered the remarks of UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville, who said in a news conference on Tuesday: “If it was deliberate, intentional targeting of those facilities, it could amount to a war crime”.

In sports news, papers reported on the first major football encounter between Russian and Turkish sides since relations soured dramatically in November.

Turkey’s Fenerbahce beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 32 in Istanbul on Tuesday evening, SABAH covered.

The goals came from Brazilian midfielder Josef de Souza Dias, commonly known as de Souza, in the 18th and 72nd minutes.

The second leg will be played at Stadium Lokomotiv in Moscow on Feb. 25, the paper noted.

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