ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A new formula for the charges of army officers and the eight arrested deputies is being searched for by the AKP. AA photo
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is about to finalize the fourth judicial reform package. The package, which is expected to be submitted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and the Cabinet tomorrow, is likely to cover various regulations on matters regarding the Kurdish issue, human rights, democratization and liberties.
If the package passes into law, many arrested convicts in the Kurdistan Communities Union
(KCK) case will be released. Doubtlessly, some will interpret this as an important hint of goodwill in the peace negotiations between İmralı island, where the convicted leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and the government. The ruling party attaches importance to the latest process and has taken many facilitating steps successively. The fourth judicial package will be parallel to the recent regulations in defense in mother tongue and the law that enables arrested convicts to meet with their families.
So, could some steps be taken for the charges of military officers and the eight arrested deputies? As I observed in the AKP corridors, a new formula for that is being searched for. The third judicial package did not offer a solution, and the speculations over the fourth package are being whispered in the corridors. According to the whispers, a motion might be tabled in the commission or the general assembly while the package was being reviewed in Parliament. The main target is to regulate the charges of arrested deputies and military officers, leading to their releases. There are two conflicting views within the AKP on that matter: Some favor the continuity of their current situation, while others favor their release with a new motion.
If the arrested deputies are released and charged without arrest, the AKP will doubtlessly win the hearts of Kurds again. The release of the KCK
defendants and eight deputies may completely change the atmosphere in the country. Let’s keep in mind that five of these arrested deputies are from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). These developments will also influence the new constitutional process. If the Constitution Conciliation Commission is abolished, hints of goodwill would provide considerable advantages for the AKP to find a new partner. Also, Erdoğan announced that they might search for a bilateral agreement if they did not reach a four-party consensus this week. “We and the BDP do not have a sufficient number to make a constitutional change. However, if we could agree on the referendum point, we would take a mutual step,” Erdoğan said. It is being emphasized in the corridors that the charge of five BDP deputies without arrest would be a strong sign of goodwill in a possible AKP-BDP alliance.
Also, Erdoğan recently spoke about the conditions of the arrested soldiers and spoke in favor of former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ. “History will not forgive the ones who called İlker Başbuğ a member of a terrorist organization,” Erdoğan said. He has previously criticized Başbuğ’s arrest as well.
The opposition’s attitude on this subject is not different from the AKP’s. Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
has also criticized the arrests for a long time. Also, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli demanded a legal regulation for military officials during last week’s group meeting, and said he would support such a regulation by all available means. The AKP members are carefully observing the attitudes of the opposition.
So, will the AKP be able to take a new step that will completely change the political agenda with a motion supported by the opposition? A decision has not been reached on that, but discussions are ongoing. It is being whispered that the jurists are presenting alternative formulas to Erdoğan, who will give the final decision. An experienced name in the AKP said, “If the prime minister confirms the motion formula, a festive atmosphere will surround the country in early March.”
Çiçek may consent to draft
Last week I had a chance to interview Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek. “For 30 years, we have complained about this Constitution, since it was limiting us. If [the constitutional work] results negatively, we will blame each other for what we cannot do for the following 30 years, which would be a pity,” Çiçek said. If the draft is not completed by the end of March, he is planning to extend the period. But of course his primary aim is to form a new Constitution by making the four parties reach a full consensus. If it cannot be achieved, Çiçek would even consent to a new constitutional draft, since he believes that even managing to form a draft that reveals the views of the four parties would be a great success and shed light on future work.
Internal feud within MHP
An internal feud within the MHP that was expected after the party’s congress has begun. Many party administrators in various provinces including Muğla, Çankırı, Edirne, Konya and Sakarya were dismissed over the last month. The dismissed ones are the names who supported Koray Aydın. Aydın and his supporters are waiting the local elections for a counterattack. If votes decrease, as is possible, the organization of an extraordinary congress would be inevitable for the MHP.