Panel accelerates charter process amid brawls between AKP, CHP MPs
ANKARAParliament’s constitution committee has abandoned discussion on articles of a proposed amendment after ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) MPs’ proposal to accelerate the process was accepted, prompting a brawl with members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which was irked by the move.
The brawl between AKP and CHP lawmakers broke out on the fifth day of the debates on Dec. 24 after AKP lawmakers Cengiz Aydoğdu, Zekeriya Birkan and Adem Yeşildal submitted a proposal declaring that the negotiations were sufficient so as to accelerate the process by ending discussion on the entirety of the charter and moving on to a discussion of the individual items.
When the chair accepted the proposal, CHP Group Deputy Chair Engin Altay and CHP lawmakers protested the decision, saying they were unable to express their views on the entirety of the bill.
“Even I, as a group deputy chairperson, could not express my opinion on the whole charter. What you have done is banditry,” Altay said.
The quarrel grew intense when AKP lawmaker Kemalettin Yılmaztekin shouted and smashed his fist onto a desk, prompting Altay to throw a water bottle at Yılmaztekin. When the verbal altercation accelerated, Şentop, the chair, warned the members of the parliament to remain calm and approved the proposal, saying the discussion process had taken too long.
The commission commenced discussing the articles of the constitutional offer, but the CHP lawmakers continued to oppose the process.
Bülent Tezcan, a CHP lawmaker, said that around 120 lawmakers had requested to speak on the entirety of the bill and that accelerating the process was unacceptable in such conditions.
“You cannot pass on to the items without even considering the proposals we have submitted, by restricting our right to speak,” Tezcan said.
‘Charter to bring dictatorship’
Ali Akyıldız, a CHP Sivas lawmaker, said that except for the United States, the presidential system has not been implemented democratically in any place in the world that has adopted the system.
Akyıldız said the constitution had been violated and that the new constitution would give extra power to a single person.
“With this constitution, we will create a dictator. There won’t be any supervision over the administration. If this proposal passes, we will bury the parliament in the grave and democracy in history,” he said.
The commission will gather on Dec. 26 to continue to discuss the items of the bill.
The CHP lawmakers said they would continue to oppose the constitutional amendment in the commission when the items are discussed.
CHP convenes central executive board
Following the decision of the committee chair, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met CHP lawmakers that attended the panel.
Before the meeting, the CHP lawmakers expressed their determination to oppose the charter, calling the acceleration of the process an unlawful measure.
“[The chair] declared the finalization of the debate on the entirety of the charter while five of our six members in the committee hadn’t spoken yet. We will not permit the [sidelining] of the people’s will, the parliament and the constitutional committee by these methods of bullying,” Tezcan said Dec. 25, arguing that the voting process to move to a discussion on the individual items was not lawful.
“This amendment proposal can only be discussed within the framework of the relevant provisions of parliament’s bylaws,” Altay said.
“What Sentop has done is open political banditry. The CHP will not allow this,” Altay added.
“We will use the authorities given to us by parliament’s bylaws, by means of the oath we have taken. By remaining within the law, we will continue to struggle for democracy,” he said.