While the opposition parties return to their routine of assemblies, congresses, criticism/self-criticism, internal reckoning, blame games, or exonerating each other, the government has already launched its local election campaign. While the opposition distracts itself with its moves of entry into Parliament, the government’s aim is to set the agenda.
The agenda is a new constitution, which it has apparently chosen to keep the opposition busy.
The ruling bloc has 321 MPs. They themselves know that it is not possible to get this number to 400 seats [the parliamentary majority necessary for approving a new constitution], but it may have some hope of reaching the 360 votes necessary for taking the draft constitution to a referendum).
We have not yet heard the opposition parties cut this strategy short by arguing that the constitution cannot be put to a vote when there are local elections in 9 months. We have not yet seen any party say that ‘the new constitution cannot be rushed’. We have not heard any party arguing that ‘those who violate the constitution cannot make a new one’.
A democratic constitution can only be made through democratic methods. And these cannot be rushed. It is again up to the opposition to stave off the constitutional debate by saying that it requires a long process and a democratic environment.
And while the parties are eating each other over their own troubles, in other words while the opposition is stalling, let’s look at what the government is preparing to do in parliament.
I see the constitutional agenda as a tactic of distraction. I think this policy will be employed at least until the local elections. It’s impossible to be sure, but it seems a more viable policy to prioritize the goals that the ruling bloc can achieve more easily using its parliamentary majority.
Considering the votes received in the general election to “conquer” Istanbul, it will want to play nice with the [fundamentalist] Yeniden Refah Party [Welfare Again Party] and focus on its priorities until the local elections. Yeniden Refah (YRP) is aware of this and in recent days it has launched a relentless campaign to have the law Nr 6284 on violence against women abolished.
YRP targets in particular protective and preventive cautionary measures taken by the courts to protect women from domestic violence. Instead they try to portray men as victims of these measures. In actuality, protective and preventive cautionary decisions are indispensable in the fight against violence. Those who want these decisions removed from the law are clearly and explicitly telling the state not to prevent male violence or protect women from violence.
Erdoğan may even come to call for removal of the law altogether. In other words, it is possible to imagine that Law Nr 6284 will be at the top of the parliamentary agenda.
The Civil Code will also be brought to parliament’s agenda, perhaps simultaneously with 6284. No one should be surprised if some articles of the Civil Code are crammed soon into one of the packages in from of the Omnibus Law.
First of all, the government now has the opportunity to amend the Civil Code, which it has been looking at for years but has not been able to accomplish. This is where the secular legal system will be most severely wounded.
We are now coming to the point where aspirations about a “90-year break” [an AKP concept about the end of the secular republic] can come to fruition.
No one should think that the AKP will throw away this opportunity when they have such a radical (i.e. reactionary) parliamentary arithmetic.
Alimony, the age of marriage, equality of spouses, property laws, the right to divorce, the women’s right to custody, and much more can be abolished in a snap while we are being distracted with the constitution.
There is a “religious vein” in this country that has been against the Civil Code from the moment of its adoption, and whose burning flame has never been extinguished.
And now that flame is in the hands of the ruling bloc.
As the local elections approach, in which Erdoğan will try to win back Istanbul and the other big cities, he will not ignore this flame.
This article was originally published in Gazete Duvar and translated by FTP.
The views and opinions expressed above are the author’s and do not reflect those of the Free Turkish Press.