27-11-2020 12:58 PM Jerusalem Timing

Turkey PM: Draft Constitution Will Guarantee Secularism

Turkey PM: Draft Constitution Will Guarantee Secularism

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday pledged that Turkey’s draft constitution would guarantee secularism after calls for a religious charter sparked controversy in the predominantly-Muslim country.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday pledged that Turkey's draft constitution would guarantee secularism after calls for a religious charter sparked controversy in the predominantly-Muslim country.

"Secularism will feature in the new constitution we draft as a principle that guarantees citizens' freedom of religion and faith and that ensures the state is at an equal distance from all faith groups," Davutoglu said in a televised speech. Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu

The prime minister said that Turkey's secular and democratic character was "not up for debate" under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002.

Parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman on Monday said the country "must have a religious constitution".

The call sparked protests on Tuesday in major cities where police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators in Ankara and Istanbul.

Kahraman's comments also drew adverse reaction from opposition parties, prompting the speaker to release a statement saying that he had been expressing his own opinion, not that of his party.