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Turkish PM presses on with new constitution

07-31-2011 08:31 BJT

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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to press ahead with plans for a new constitution to boost democracy, but he made no mention of the country's top military commanders quitting.

The armed forces commander General Isik Kosaner stepped down Friday together with the army, navy and air force chiefs in protest at the jailing of 250 officers on charges of conspiring against Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Erdogan's office issued a statement expressing appreciation for the commanders' service, but he has not spoken directly on the matter.

Saturday's televised speech focused on his new government's plans for the economy and constitution.

Tayyip Erdogan said, "Turkey can not continue on its path with a constitution prepared in the extraordinary conditions of a period when democracy was shelved. We are going through a period during which we experience big changes in almost every field, such as politics, economy, judiciary, freedoms, social state as well as cultural reforms and our biggest need is a civilian constitution that reflects this change as well as people's free will."

The president said on Saturday the resignation of the nation's top military commanders would not cause a crisis and he claimed they had already reached retirement age.

Many have questioned whether such a plot ever existed and see the arrests as part of the Prime Minister's long-standing campaign to establish civilian authority over Turkey's once powerful military.

The government strongly denies that allegation.


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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