PM to opposition: Parliament to keep working despite boycott

TODAYSZAMAN


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an on Thursday challenged Turkey’s main opposition party and the pro-Kurdish bloc, which have so far refused to take their parliamentary oaths in protest of the imprisonment of some of their deputies, saying it’s their choice to boycott Parliament and that this poses no obstacle to Parliament’s functioning.
“There is no situation that would prevent the functioning of Parliament, no matter whether the opposition comes or not. … Parliament will begin working and the first step is the elections to be held for the Parliament presidency on Tuesday,” the prime minister said as he addressed his party’s first parliamentary group meeting at Justice and Development Party (AK Party) headquarters in Ankara.
Turkish lawmakers on Tuesday took their oaths in a parliamentary session, but the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and independent deputies supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) boycotted the ceremony. Some 30 independent deputies did not attend the ceremony to protest a Supreme Election Board (YSK) decision to strip an elected politician, Hatip Dicle, of his parliamentary status due to a past conviction for spreading terrorist propaganda and subsequent court rulings against the release of Dicle and five other deputies who are jailed suspects in a separate terror-related case.

Members of the CHP, whose two deputies are behind bars as suspects in the Ergenekon case, did come to Parliament but refused to stand up and walk to the rostrum to take their oaths. “We will not take the oath unless the way is open for all our deputies to take the oath,” CHP leader K?l?çdaro?lu said less than an hour before Parliament convened for the ceremony.

Erdo?an was highly critical of the opposition boycott during his speech on Thursday. The prime minister dismissed K?l?çdaro?lu’s arguments that Parliament cannot function without the CHP. “He is saying that parliamentary commissions cannot function without the CHP. This is not true. In the past term, CHP deputies left a commission but it continued its work. They took the bill approved in the commission to the Constitutional Court for annulment but it was rejected. How he can say that, although we all know that,” he said.

The prime minister also said it is a grave mistake for K?l?çdaro?lu to both complain about the politicization of the judiciary and to ask the government to intervene in the judiciary to solve the recent crisis. “They are saying the prime minister should solve the issue. What will he do? Will he call the judges and give instructions? We know this happened in the past. Turkey is a country ruled by law. Those who put the blame on the AK Party for court decisions are those whose past habits are now recurring. The judiciary might have received orders and instructions from them during their term in government and we know well that this happened. But, the judiciary does not receive any order or instruction from anyone during the AK Party rule,” the prime minister said.

However, in an immediate response K?l?çdaro?lu said he had never requested that Erdo?an call a judge or intervene in the ongoing cases.

Erdo?an also recalled that a closure case was filed against the AK Party when the party held 65 percent of the seats in Parliament and that journalist Musatafa Balbay, one of CHP’s jailed deputies, wrote then that “the judiciary also reflects the nation’s will.” “Is not the judiciary, which then represented the nation’s will, now representing the nation’s will today?” he asked.

“Those who refuse to take their oaths due to court rulings are those who still cannot accept the principle of separation of powers. Nobody has the right to violate the laws. Those who arbitrarily nominated those [jailed] deputies despite [the fact that] they knew the consequences, but thought they could get around the law, should respect court decisions today,” the prime minister added.

He was also highly critical of the CHP’s attending the oath-taking ceremony, but refusing to take the oath and acting as thought they were absent. “How can saying to the parliament speaker that you are absent although you are there be related to honesty? This will go down in the history of the main opposition party as a black stain. The CHP is having ontological problems,” he noted.


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