Turkish Parliament freezes talks over bylaw amendments

Çiçek issued a session break, the atmosphere in Parliament grew tenser, resulting in a fistfight and exchanges of harsh words between AK Party and CHP deputies.

Turkish Parliament freezes talks over bylaw amendments

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Thursday dropped a number of proposals to amend various bylaws included in the parliamentary charter, following much tension in Parliament mainly caused by filibustering from the Republican People's Party (CHP), which physically occupied the parliamentary rostrum on Wednesday in protest of the amendments.

The CHP physically occupied Parliament's rostrum Wednesday night in outrage over one amendment, which limits the time political parties can propose items, which determine Parliament's agenda, to only 10 minutes. Proposals on that amendment and some other controversial ones were dropped by the AK Party on Thursday, temporarily suspending the crisis.

Parliament on Thursday discussed the first part of the proposed amendments to the charter but decided to leave discussing individual bylaws to a later time. However, this does not mean the opposition or the government might be willing to backpedal on their stance.

The tension the amendments created has been resolved only temporarily. Both the opposition party and the ruling party still refuse to give up their stance regarding the amendments to the charter. The AK Party is determined to amend the parliamentary charter, despite the physical occupation of Parliament’s rostrum by the CHP.

Commenting on the CHP’s recent occupation, AK Party parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Ahmet Aydın told Cihan the recent action by CHP deputies will not impede the planned amendments to the parliamentary charter. “They conquer the nation’s rostrum with claims the government is intending to amend the charter in order to silence them. This act of occupation by CHP deputies is an act of the minority to oppress the majority, but we will not condone despotism and the militancy of the CHP.”

Aydın went on to say the AK Party will not permit the CHP to block the amendments to the charter and added it is determined to amend the charter to create a more efficient and productive Parliament.

Aydın also said the amendments sponsored by the AK Party are misunderstood by CHP deputies, and the AK Party’s intention is not to silence opposition parties. The party’s only intention is to accelerate the workings of Parliament and to solve possible problems earlier and more efficiently.

Regarding the issue, CHP parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Muharrem İnce said on Thursday at a press conference in the Parliament building that their act is not an occupation but a resistance to the ruling party to protect the nation’s rostrum. İnce also said they will continue their resistance.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also commented on this issue, saying the CHP’s act was an actual coup inside Parliament because the CHP tried to stop by force the working of Parliament.

The government’s recent effort to amend the parliamentary charter created chaos in Parliament last month, which escalated on Wednesday as members of the main opposition party occupied the rostrum in protest of the new amendments.

CHP deputies, who blocked access to the rostrum, chanted slogans, calling on Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek to resign. Çiçek strongly criticized the move and said the CHP deputies’ occupation of Parliament doesn’t solve the problem. AK Party deputies booed the CHP deputies.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu hailed the protest in a televised interview on Wednesday as a “democratic act.” He said the protest will continue until the opposition gets what it wants and criticized the charter amendments as a “coup destroying democracy.”

The CHP parliamentary group released a statement on Wednesday, saying the ruling party is trying to silence opposition with the new charter and that CHP deputies are not occupying the rostrum but “liberating it.”

AK Party parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Nurettin Canikli said at a news conference late on Wednesday that the CHP’s occupation of Parliament is “militaristic behavior, brutal and violent.” He harshly criticized the CHP for its actions, claiming the opposition party wants to prevent the functioning of Parliament, and added the ruling party will not allow this to happen and that Parliament will soon start working again.

After Çiçek issued a session break, the atmosphere in Parliament grew tenser, resulting in a fistfight and exchanges of harsh words between AK Party and CHP deputies.

Late last month, 50 CHP deputies rushed furiously into the hall where the parliamentary Constitutional Commission was discussing the bill to amend the charter and stated they were determined to block it. After the bill to amend the charter was sent to Parliament’s plenary session for approval, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) threw in their support behind the CHP as well, completely blocking parliamentary proceedings.

Seeing the ruling party’s determination to pass the bill at all costs, the opposition camp further intensified its efforts and resorted to every filibustering method available. One of the main objections voiced by the opposition was against the changing of parliamentary charter upon the initiative of a single party.

They argued that all parties should reach a consensus on any changes to the charter, as was the case with the bid to amend the Constitution. The CHP, MHP and BDP argue that amendments to the charter are designed to silence the opposition. The AK Party, on the other hand, accuses the opposition parties of not being ready to solve the country’s problems by dragging their feet on the amendments.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Şubat 2012, 12:20