Erdoğan vows new constitution, shares vision of future for Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday laid out his vision for Turkey in the next century, dubbed “the Century of Turkey vision,” and vowed a new constitution guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of citizens.

The Turkish leader’s remarks arrived a day ahead of  the 99th anniversary of Republic Day, marking the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

The Turkish president said in the meantime, his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would propose a constitutional amendment on the right to wear headscarf, but also protecting family values from the “threat of perverted currents’’ to the parliament next week, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

Erdoğan said his vision for Turkey includes making the country one of the world’s top 10 nations in “politics, economy, technology, military and diplomacy,” the newspaper said, while reducing energy dependency on foreign countries. 

Turkey is counting down to the  parliamentary and presidential elections in the summer of 2023. Erdoğan has ruled Turkey for two-decades and is heading into the polls with waning support prompted by an economic crisis that has seen record lows in the lira and inflation reach a 24-year-high.

“We want to make a strong start to the new century of the Republic,” he said, adding “The shelf life of the constitution of the Sept. 12 (1980) coup has already expired,” in reference to Turkey’s constitution was drafted following a military coup in 1980.

The new constitution will strengthen “the rule of law, pluralism, justice and equality,” he said.

Draft constitutional amendments will be submitted to parliament next week to ensure that “the education and employment rights of all our girls and sisters whether they wear headscarves or are uncovered, as well as protect our family institution from the threat of perverted currents,” Erdoğan said.

The Turkish leader last week proposed that a constitutional change to guarantee the right to wear an Islamic headscarf in the civil service, schools, and universities should be decided through a referendum.

Erdoğan’s government has maintained an anti-LGBTQ stance, which critics say he has dialled up to appeased his conservative support base ahead of the elections.

The Turkish leader reiterated plans for Turkey to become an energy hub to deliver Russian gas to European nations, a proposal first made by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin earlier this month.

Gas prices have surged following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has reduced gas delivery to Europe in retaliation for Western sanctions leading EU countries to find alternative energy supplies.

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