Last Friday, on 26.05.2023, I received the five laws amending the existing laws, the content of which refers to the construction of Corridors 8 and 10D, known in the public as laws for the project of the state with the American-Turkish consortium “Bechtel-Enka”.
I also received the Decrees promulgating the laws that were adopted by a prescribed majority in the Assembly, namely:
- The Law Amending the Law on Labor Relations;
- The Law Amending the Law on Expropriation;
- The Law Amending the Law on Construction;
- The Law Amending the Law on Urban Planning;
- The Law Amending the Law on Determining Public Interest and Nominating a Strategic Partner for the Implementation of the Project for Construction of Corridors 8 and 10e.
In the past weeks, a legitimate debate was developed in the public regarding the content of these laws, and for one of them, its constitutionality, considering the decision of the Constitutional Court from last year.
Without disputing the legitimate right to a comprehensive debate on any law, including these, I want to point out that the debate by a small number of subjects has been used to increase the already high polarization in our society that has taken the focus away from the real issues related to these laws. Instead of focusing the discussion on the benefits and possible risks regarding the project, the public debate turned into a discussion about our strategic Euro-Atlantic orientations and aspirations.
With regard to the Law Amending the Law on Labor Relations, I would like to inform the public that the text of the adopted law does not contain the disputed provision by the Constitutional Court, which stipulated that “the working hours of each worker can be in an average of 60 hours per week throughout the year”.
In recent months, I have made several public statements that I will not sign a decree promulgating a law that contains a provision that was previously disputed by the Constitutional Court, and in that regard, the new text of the law does not contain the wording “60-hour work week”.
In recent days, I had a series of consultations regarding the constitutionality of the new text of the law with experts in the field of labor law, with former judges of the Constitutional Court and with the advisors in my Cabinet.
After summarizing the various opinions, I made a decision to sign the Decree promulgating this law, and the other four laws.
However, taking into account the objections of some of the unions, some of the civil associations that work in this sphere, as well as some political parties, I point out that every interested party has the right to submit an initiative for assessing the constitutionality of each law, including this law.
The Constitutional Court is the only institution in our legal system that gives the last word regarding the constitutionality of laws.
The Constitutional Court has at its disposal mechanisms by which it can quickly and efficiently make an appropriate decision, if the judges of the Constitutional Court think so.
Off-topic, I want to very briefly commend the work of the commission made up of experts, established on the recommendation of the Government, within the Ministry of Justice, which, in a fairly short period of time, developed and submitted a draft-initiative for constitutional changes to the Government. In a short time, I say, it did a good job, a valuable job, a quality job, because, you know, that committee was again viewed with so much emotions, like the previous issue we discussed, and there were different influences imposed on its work. Finally, when you have 24-25 members in a committee on such an emotional issue, it is clear that it is possible for the debate to take a completely different course and not finish the work, either for weeks and months or with proposals that do not correspond to the conclusions of the Assembly, which is the only authoritative body and practically the source of legitimacy for the establishment and work of that commission, which were adopted last year and which refer to the European negotiation framework.