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Iran Press TV

Ankara to work with opposition on new constitution: Turkey PM

Iran Press TV

Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:11AM

Turkish Prime Minster Binali Yildirim says his government is ready to work with opposition parties on drafting a new constitution.

Yildirim made the announcement on Monday, following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and two opposition leaders.

Earlier in the day, Erdogan met with Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli.

"All the main parties are ready to start work on a new constitution," said Yildirim, adding that the first steps would be slight amendment to the current constitution in relation to the recent failed coup.

"There will be a small change to remove obstacles from the constitution and the work is underway to do this," he said.

The head of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, was not present at the meeting, but Yildirim said that the HDP would also be part of talks on the new constitution.

Erdogan has on various occasions hinted that the death penalty may be reintroduced in Turkey to allow the execution of those involved in the coup bid.

The putsch began overnight on July 15, when rebel soldiers declared they were in control of the country and the Ankara administration was no more in charge. Tanks, helicopters and soldiers then clashed with police and people on the streets of the capital and Istanbul.

The coup was gradually suppressed by military forces and people loyal to Erdogan. More than 300 people were killed from both sides, many of them on July 16.

What do the people want?

Meanwhile, Erdogan said that the people of Turkey want the death penalty restored, despite multiple calls by EU officials that such a move would halt the country's EU accession.

"What do the (Turkish) people say today?" asked the Turkish president during an interview with German television station ARD.

"They want the death penalty reintroduced. And we as the government must listen to what the people say. We can't say 'no, that doesn't interest us,'" he added.

The Death penalty was annulled in Turkey in 2004 under reforms aimed at joining the European Union.

Earlier, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (seen below) said that any accession talks with Turkey would be halted if Ankara restored the death penalty.

"I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period," he said during a TV broadcast.

Last week, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all stressed that Turkey would be barred from joining the bloc if it reintroduces the death penalty.

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