Erdogan talks new constitution, next year's elections
In a possible step towards friendlier relations, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited dozens of leading media representatives to meet at the Prime Ministry Office at Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace on Saturday. During the meeting, Erdogan touched on a large number of issues including Turkey's recently passed referendum, expectations of a new constitution, next year's parliamentary elections, and compulsory military service. Responding to a recent call from main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to begin preparations for a new constitution, Erdogan said, "Turkey will embark on the process for a new constitution only after the next general elections," which he added could be held next June or July. On freedom of the press, he said the Parliament is considering new steps to protect journalists and expand their freedom. Erdogan also stressed that changes to the Turkish Penal Code are planned. Separately, he hinted that Turkey may work to lift political bans on Kurdish politicians, but said this should not be conflated with a general amnesty for PKK members.