The statement called on for a “pluralistic, egalitarian and libertarian New Constitution” and urged the existing constitutional rights have been “suspended” amid continuous clashes.
All parts of the society should put forth an "efficient will within the international democratic values" against the possibility that this process "constitutes a legal status for an authoritarian regime", said Lawyer Hülya Gülbahar while reading the statement.
Some of the renowned academicians and intellectuals who have signed the statement included Ahmet Türk, Binnaz Toprak, Baskın Oran, Murat Belge, Tarık Ziya Ekinci, Hülya Gülbahar, Nil Mutluer, Levent Köker and Melda Onur. Some opposition party MPs of Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) also participated in the meeting.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments on the release of two journalists, who were arrested for covering a news story on “intel trucks” carrying weapons to Syria, marked the press statement.
The ruling by the Constitutional Court has allowed the release of daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül, and Erdoğan has said he “did not accept nor respect” the Constitutional Court and vowed not to abide by the court's decision.
“He does not recognize the law, nor the justice” said Prof Gencay Gürsoy during the press statement, calling on for the initiative of citizens to form a "democratic constitution".
Regarding the so-called “presidential ambitions” of Erdoğan, “If the democratic public opinion stake a claim on this issue, the danger would be prevented” Gürsoy stressed.
"Constitution cannot be founded in conditions of war"
The first four articles of the existing constitution, including clauses about Turkey as a secular state and Turkey’s official language as Turkish, were also addressed as a question by a reporter.
“I cannot say that all participants of the statement are unanimous about a possible change in these four articles. I personally think that these four clauses should not be imposed. If we have put the issue of peace on the agenda, I believe that Turkey should be more flexible, regarding the solutions to the Kurdish problem” Gürsoy said.
“A war recently rules in our country. Founding a constitution cannot be in question in these conditions of war. We would like to urge on need for returning to the negotiation table” Author Ayşegül Devecioğlu urged.