Erdogan: "After the reform package passes next month, a new constitution will folow"
The road will be paved for an entirely new constitution if a package of constitutional reforms passes in a referendum next month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, adding that this new civilian-made constitution would promote freedom and democracy. Speaking to reporters during a visit to the city of Van, Erdogan said the process of drafting a new constitution would speed up if the package is passed, but added that even if it's rejected, he government will press ahead with efforts for a new constitution. Erdogan said that though the package falls short of guaranteeing a great democratic future for Turkey, its changes are still a step in the right direction. "If we can win a majority that will enable us to draw up a new constitution in 2011, we will do so," he said. "We're set on this and have no plans to back down." He said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had wanted a new constitution after the 2007 elections but that the opposition had resisted. Nevertheless, he said they would complete this process, adding that they would seek consensus with the opposition in drafting a new constitution. "Of course, we would like to see the opposition contribute to a new pro-freedom and pro-democracy constitution, but if it continues to defend the status quo, we will certainly make a new constitution by working with civil groups and the public," he added.