Turks will be exercising their fundamental democratic rights on Sunday by going to the polls to cast their votes for the political party of their choosing. It is the first time parliamentary elections have turned into a race for a vote of confidence on the 1982 military-era Constitution. That is why it seems the results of these national elections will play a major role in shaping the future of Turkey.
The outcome of these elections is a foregone conclusion, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) poised to win a third term with enough seats to form a single-party government. The question is whether or not the AK Party will garner more than 330 seats out of 550 to secure the drafting of an entirely new constitution alone. I do not buy the argument that the AK Party could still proceed to rewrite the Constitution with a compromise deal brokered among parties in Parliament. If support for the AK Party drops below 330, the constitutional overhaul will be dead in its tracks.
Why? Because the past track record of all three parties represented in Parliament during debates for a smaller package of constitutional amendments last year proved that they were not interested in changing even 26 articles. The changes had to be submitted to a public referendum for approval and in fact there was a landslide vote for the changes. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) did not even bother sending any representatives to a “Compromise Commission” suggested by the parliament speaker. Later it boycotted the voting on the floor of Parliament and campaigned against the changes in the public referendum.
Now some say that the CHP is a changed party under a new leadership and may have a different position with respect to the Constitution. Unfortunately, the evidence does not seem to suggest that the CHP has really changed. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the CHP, maintained opposition to EU-backed changes in the referendum last year. He instructed...