Turkey’s new constitution will retain secularism as a principle, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday, playing down comments in the parliamentary speaker who tripped a public uproar by calling for a religious national charter.
Speaker Ismail Kahraman said that overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey wanted a religious constitution, a proposition at odds with the modern republic’s founding principles. He later said that the new constitution should guarantee religious freedoms and his opinions were “private views.
Davutoglu also said the authorities would seek an a “liberal interpretation” of secularism, instead of a “ ” one that was authoritarian.
Their origins in political Islam, the ruling AK Party he founded and President Tayyip Erdogan, have attempted to re-establish the function of religion in public life. Religious education has expanded and allowed the head scarf prohibited from state offices, to be worn in schools and parliament.
The AKP is pressing to replace the present constitution, which dates back to the interval after a 1980 military coup. Kahraman is managing efforts to draft a brand new text.