Turkey's CHP applies to top court to annul reform package
ANKARA — Hürriyet Daily News | 5/14/2010 12:00:00 AM |
In a petition to the Constitutional Court against the government's new reform package, the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, says the package was submitted to Parliament with procedural mistakes and that articles regarding judiciary are contrary to the Constitution
Turkey's main opposition party filed a petition Friday with the country’s top court to annul the government’s constitutional reform package.
The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, applied to the Constitutional Court with 111 votes. Along with 97 CHP deputies, six Democratic Left Party, or DSP, deputies, seven independent deputies and former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz of the Democrat Party signed the CHP’s application.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, criticized the CHP on Friday for repeatedly applying to the top court to resolve the country’s political problems.
|Akdamar mass at risk
A mass that has been planned at the Armenian Akdamar Church on Sept. 12 risks being cancelled because of the scheduling of a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform on the same date.
In the interests of improving ties with Armenia, the ceremony was planned for the island church, which has been non-functional for a long time.
Münir Karaloğlu, governor of the province of Van in which the church is located, said he would meet with Armenian religious leaders to find a consensus to postpone the important event by one week.
He also said the conflicting dates had been very distressing for him, adding that he would start negotiations with the religious leaders on Monday in the hopes of agreeing to push the mass back to Sept. 19, 2010.
Speaking to the media after the application, CHP deputy Süha Hakkı Okay said the party’s objection to the package was both procedural and in terms of its essence.
In the petition, the party said the package was submitted to Parliament with procedural mistakes and that articles regarding the judiciary were contrary to the Constitution.
The petition listed the procedural and methodological mistakes first, saying the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, proposal was actually a draft bill, not a parliamentary proposal. The party cited Erdoğan’s constant references to the word “draft bill” in its court application.
The CHP also said the AKP submitted the proposal to Parliament twice, thereby constituting a methodological mistake.
The AKP first submitted its package proposal with “stock signatures” the party had collected from all its deputies when they were first elected to Parliament in 2007. Because of the CHP’s objections, the AKP had to resubmit the proposal to Parliament by having all its deputies physically re-sign the new proposal in person.
Claiming further that the AKP had failed to obey the rule of secret voting in Parliament, the CHP attached alleged visual evidence of this procedural violation in its petition.
The opposition party further objected to the essence of the reform package, saying the articles, which envision a reorganization of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK, and the Constitutional Court was against the Constitution and a threat to judicial independence.
[HH] PM levels criticism
Commenting on the CHP’s application, Erdoğan said the court has come to the point where it is now the main opposition party’s court.
“The CHP is taking everything to the court,” Erdoğan said. “I think that in the history of the Constitutional Court, it has never been that worn down by the main opposition party as it has been in the past seven years."
Asked to comment on the Supreme Election Board, or YSK’s, referendum decision to hold the referendum on Sept. 12, Erdoğan said: "I see it as a forced decision. But the YSK has made such a decision. Of course we will comply.
“The power exerted over Parliament by the high judiciary can now almost be seen in the [YSK],” he said, adding that general elections will be held in 2011 as scheduled.
President Abdullah Gül, meanwhile, said Friday the YSK’s decisions could not be negotiated.