Turkey's Erdogan pledges new constitution

Associated Press
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan introduce his ruling, Islam-based party's manifesto ahead of the June 12 elections, In Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, April 16, 2011. Erdogan said his government will write a new, freedom-oriented constitution to replace the current one introduced under military rule in 1982 if re-elected in June. The banner behind him reads: "Turkey is ready, target is 2023."(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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Turkey's prime minister says his government will write a new constitution that will strengthen democracy and freedoms, if re-elected in June.

Turkey's current constitution, introduced under military rule in 1982, has clauses that restrict some political rights and freedoms, including free speech or minority rights.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday the new constitution would "support democracy and freedoms." He was introducing his ruling, Islam-based party's manifesto before the June 12 elections.

Opinion polls show Erdogan's party is the front-runner in the elections, although it is not clear if it would gain sufficient seats in parliament to change the constitution alone.

The pro-secular opposition party fears a constitution by Erdogan's party may erode Turkey's secular system.

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