CHP doubtful of bugging in charter talks

CHP doubtful of bugging in charter talks

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP doubtful of bugging in charter talks

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. DHA Photo

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has sounded an alarm that discussions at Parliament’s Constitutional Reconciliation Commission are being listened to and could be leaked for purposes of political manipulation.

“We are worried about eavesdropping in the area. We are concerned that material could be fabricated digitally that might undermine the work of the commission. The government must take precautions,” Atilla Kart, a CHP member of the commission, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Kart stressed that his party’s concerns had increased after the CHP raised the issue at a commission meeting, but received no guarantee that measures would be taken to prevent leaks. “We are concerned that private conversations at the commission are being leaked. There is a group that digitally fabricates documents. This group may spread disinformation and manipulate the work of the commission,” he said.

The cross-party Constitutional Reconciliation Commission began writing the text of the new constitution on May 1 at Parliament’s annex building on Atatürk Boulevard, across from the main campus. The fact that the annex building is located very close to the Public Order and Security Undersecretariat has fuelled the CHP’s concerns about the possibility of eavesdropping. Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, however, has played down the worries and promised to enact measures if the CHP’s fears prove to be warranted.

All discussions at commission meetings are being recorded in minutes, but members can request a “blackout,” especially when they wish to express views that could be controversial. This principle aims to make the members feel comfortable expressing their ideas. There are also separate rooms for the four political parties in the building. Commission members can hold private meetings in these rooms as well.

“I have voiced my misgivings at the commission, but there have been no concrete developments. The government has not given us any assurances. This is worrisome. The Parliament Speaker said officials will do what is necessary, but the government has not given any assurance,” Kart said. “We are worried about eavesdropping on confidential talks at the Commission. This issue is very important. Can we talk about the rule of law, security or individual freedoms under such circumstances? The constitution-making process could be sabotaged by doctoring audio recordings of private discussions at the meetings.”

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkey, CHP, AKP, charter