Turkish prime minister rules out Islamic constitution

Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, on Wednesday cleared the ongoing controversy in Istanbul that Turkey is not planning to introduce an Islamic constitution.

He said this while speaking before the parliament that the clearance was because of a call for an Islamic constitution from Parliament Speaker, Ismail Kahraman.

Mr. Davutoglu said the speaker insisted that Turkey should be defined as an Islamic nation and have a new religious-based constitution that does not contain the principle of secularism.

The prime minister said Turkey is currently debating changes to its constitution meant to empower the office of the president, currently held by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr. Davutoglu said secularism would be “part of the new constitution which would secure citizens’ freedom of religion and faith.

Secularism has been a defining characteristic of modern Turkey, founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The concept is mentioned repeatedly in the constitution, which was created in 1980, following a military coup.

He explained that the constitution would also guarantee that “the state maintains the same distance to all religious groups”.

Meanwhile, Erdogan has distanced himself from the remarks, which he described as Kahraman’s “personal opinion.”

(dpa/NAN)


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