Bursa was the Ninth Stop of the Constitution Platform Citizens’ Assembly Series The meeting recorded the highest level of participation by women.
BURSA – The ninth meeting of the Constitution Platform, carried out under the secretariat of TEPAV under the slogan “Turkey Speaks,” was held in Bursa on Sunday, 1 April 2012. Although it coincided with the first-level university examination, the meeting attracted great attention and recorded the highest rate of women’s participation.
Delivering the opening speech at the meeting held at Merinos Atatürk Cultural and Convention Center, TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stressed the historical importance of Bursa and said, “This city witnessed the transformation of the Ottomans from a small state into a magnificent empire. Many of the politicians and artists of our country are children of this city.” He said that it was therefore very important to hold a Citizens’ Assembly in Bursa:
“The views of the citizens who live in this city of industry, culture and education will contribute greatly to our new constitution…The atmosphere here is very significant. All of these organizations have differing world views, differing interests. There are businessmen among us, workers, merchants and pensioners. If you were to ask one by one, each of us would say something different, but we have come together for the future of this country, for a new constitution.”
Asserting the need for a new constitution that would strengthen democracy and the economy, he added: “I’m not satisfied with Turkey being the seventeenth largest economy in the world. What suits us is to race to the top. Isn’t that what my ancestors did? Did Bursa not witness this? We have set ourselves a goal: We will be one of the top 10 economies by 2023. The per capita income will reach 25,000 dollars. Because this nation deserves it.”
“Our goal is to set the new constitution on the hearth of the people”
Stating that the present constitution had become very much of a carpet bag after numerous amendments, he went on:
“We need a constitution driven by the public will, not by the elite, military memos, interim regimes or coups. Only such a constitution can help us achieve our goals by 2023. Our goal with the new constitution is to set it, not on paper, but in the hearts of our people. It is to put forth a constitution that everyone will accept.”
Calling on the participants to voice their views clearly, he concluded, “I assure you that your efforts will not be in vain. Be sure that your voice will be heard. Your ideas will resound throughout Ankara. This is our duty. We will organize and compile the results and present them to the Constitution Committee of the Parliament.”
“Don’t let the constitution matter turn into a April Fool’s joke”
Delivering a speech, the Parliament Speaker said, “I hope that the political institution will not turn this constitution matter into an April Fool’s joke and successfully complete the process with its head held high. I hope this is the case, and I think we need it.” He added that a new constitution was needed in order to start a new period in which society would not struggle with a new problem each day. He said:
“There is both a need and social demand for a new constitution. Turkey has had two centuries of experience, since 1808, in crafting constitutions.” He stated that the work in regards to the new constitution had to be brought to its final stages by the end of 2012, and that the new constitution would not be condescension of the political institution to the people.
During the meeting, members of the Constitution Committee as well as representatives from the civil society organizations and syndicates that are involved or that support the Constitution Platform delivered speeches. Following the opening session, the participants discussed and voted on the options regarding the new constitution.