Main opposition leader slams Erdoğan, boycotts presidential inauguration
Turkey’s main opposition party has boycotted President Recep Tayyip Erdopan’s oath-taking ceremony while severely criticizing Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek for not allowing opposition lawmakers to express their opinions about the illegality of the delayed announcement of Erdoğan’s presidency.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) had already decided not to attend the ceremony at Parliament, but three of its lawmakers were present at the General Assembly to make their objections about the legal process. The party emphasized that Erdoğan’s status as prime minister and chairman of the ruling party dropped when the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced the official results of the presidential elections Aug. 15. It criticized Çiçek for not acting upon the YSK’s announcement and for allowing what they call unlawful.
“You have to allow me to make my case,” Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of the CHP Engin Altay told Çiçek, who opened the extraordinary session. Çiçek cut off Altay’s words, underlining it was not the right moment for such a debate and he was determined to carry out the ceremony.
“Presidential oath-taking ceremonies are very important and meaningful events at Parliament. I will carry out this ceremony in line with the solemnity of Parliament,” said Çiçek. He suggested Altay leave the General Assembly if he did not want to stay.
As the quarrel between the two men continued, Altay hurled a parliamentary rulings booklet at Çiçek, which hit the floor behind him. Altay’s move drew a quick reaction from Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers, who walked over to the CHP deputy.
Altay and other CHP deputies held a press conference following the incident, stressing they simply wanted to draw the attention to the unlawfulness that had taken place since Aug. 15. “Whoever is elected the president should abide by the Constitution. We wanted to express this. Otherwise our problem is not to confront the people’s will,” he said.
“No one is above politics. And no one will ever be afterward, either,” Altay said.
The AKP lawmakers strongly criticized Altay’s move and described it as disrespectful to the people’s will. “The disrespect committed against a person elected with 52 percent of the votes is, in fact, disrespect to the masses who voted for him,” Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz told reporters.
[HH] Kılıçdaroğlu not to legitimize a false oath
Just hours before this incident at Parliament, Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated he would boycott the ceremony because he did not want to “legitimize a false oath.”
“How convincing can a person be when he swears upon the Constitution, despite violating that Constitution?” Kılıçdaroğlu said at yesterday’s press conference, hours before the oath-taking ceremony was due to take place at Parliament in Ankara.
“I will not witness that false oath. I swore upon my honor and integrity to abide by the Constitution,” he added, referring to his oath-taking as a member of the Parliament after being elected. “Witnessing a lie means legitimizing that lie. Legitimizing [Erdoğan’s] lie is not something the CHP can accept.”
“From now on, [Erdoğan] will be paid respect according to his loyalty to the Constitution,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.