Ex-ruling AKP lawmaker calls for removal of laicite from Turkish constitution

A former lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has called for laicite to be removed from the Turkish constitution, citing its ''abuse'' by the main opposition party.

Resul Tosun made the remarks in the pro-government Star newspaper, where he contributes as a columnist, on Sunday.

Tosun said laicite - the conception of secularism based on the French system - had been used for decades in the country as a an excuse by "those looking to ruin the lives of the pious and drive a wedge between society and Islam.’’

The concept of laicite has been present in the second article of the Turkish constitution since 1937. The country’s existing constitution was adopted in 1982 following a military coup, with multiple amendments over the years, the latest of which took place in 2017 establishing an executive presidential system in place of a parliamentary democracy.

"The principle of laicite should either be removed from the constitution as in all modern countries or should be described in a way to prevent abuse,’’ the former AKP member of parliament said, while accusing the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of ‘’being disturbed’’ by the ''presence of Islam in society and the state.’’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist-rooted AKP earlier this year announced plans for drawing up a road-map to a new constitution, but stopped short of announcing any details.

Political opponents of Erdoğan suspect that he may seek to use a new lawbook to increase his executive powers and to compromise the secular principles upon which the current constitution is based.

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