PM, opposition head in judicial reform duel
DAILY NEWS photos
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated his government’s opposition to the release of arrested lawmakers and said recently enacted legal amendments were drafted so as not to interrupt ongoing cases. His statements contradicted those made by his deputy Bekir Bozdağ over the weekend.
“The third judiciary package does not contain any specific regulation on this issue [of arrested lawmakers]. We have never said and we will never say ‘yes’ to the calls of the CHP [Republican People’s Party], the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] and the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] about arrested lawmakers. This should be known,” Erdoğan said Wednesday in the address to his party’s provincial branches.
Erdoğan described the third judicial package as a reform aimed at generally addressing the problems of the judiciary and therefore having no intention of affecting specific cases. “It has been seen that speculations over the third package have no meaning. No specific regulation could cause ongoing cases and the struggle against terror and plotters to fail,” he said.
The adoption of the third judicial package raised hope for the eight jailed deputies, hailing from the ranks of the three opposition parties. The package allows judges to implement judicial control without a maximum limit which has been seen as a formula for the release of jailed deputies as well as thousands of other inmates. Furthermore, Bozdağ’s statement over the weekend had been interpreted as a green light for the release of lawmakers currently behind bars.
Erdoğan accused oppositional parties of trying to get lawmakers out of jail by nominating them for the Parliament and of watering down cases like Ergenekon and Balyoz. “Couldn’t you find candidates outside of jail?”
Criticism to Kiliçdaroğlu over twitter usage
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also criticized CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for trying to confuse the minds of millions of people who took the Public Personnel Selection Exam (KPSS) after questions were posted on a website close to a terrorist organization. He said Kılıçdaroğlu had done the same thing last year as well: “He played with the feelings of millions of young people last year through a fake e-mail. So many things can be said through Facebook and Twitter. We are facing Kılıçdaroğlu, who is trying to use the slanderous virtual nature of technology. [He is] Twitter Kılıçdaroğlu.”
On the flood disaster that claimed the lives of 12 people in Samsun last week, Erdoğan defended the state-run Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) and said it did not build houses on the stream bed. “TOKİ is one of the most successful institutions, you can’t destroy it with your smear campaign,” he said. Calling on the media and political parties to adopt a more responsible attitude, Erdoğan recalled that there was an ongoing probe into the deaths of victims and that those found responsible would be prosecuted.
CHP: AKP secured release only for those they favor
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the government over the release of two far-right militants convicted for killing seven students while eight deputies are still behind bars, saying that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has secured release only for those favorable for them.
“The government has adopted a bill under the name of judicial reform to secure the release of those who are favorable for them, keeping those who are unfavorable for them in jail, and they call it justice. The public conscience is hurt by this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, answering questions from reporters before a party meeting yesterday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also speaking yesterday, indicated that the government’s reluctance to see the jailed deputies released from the prison. The third judiciary package was not adopted to resolve this problem, he said, playing down suggestions that extending the scope of judicial control measures would lead to the release of the eight jailed deputies.
Kılıçdaroğlu said in response that the notion of justice has been damaged under the AKP’s rule because of court practices. “Justice means justice for the AKP at the moment. The judiciary, judges and courts are dependent on the AKP. That is the situation they [the AKP] have created up to now,” he said.
The CHP leader also criticized the government over alleged cheating on the recent Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS).
“If questions [from the KPSS] were stolen and leaked to someone, one cannot say ‘members of the KCK [the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union] did it.’ The prime minister says ‘KCK members stole the questions, and if the CHP criticizes it, then the CHP backs KCK members.’ His remarks are unreasonable,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Meanwhile, CHP deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu filed a criminal complaint about the cheating claims yesterday.
A flood that killed 12 people in the Black Sea province of Samsun last week was another polemic issue between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.
The CHP has accused the state-run Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) of causing the deaths in last week’s floods by building residences on a stream bed. Erdoğan said that TOKİ cannot be held responsible for the natural disaster, and described CHP’s criticism as “petty politics.”
Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, said that Erdoğan did not say anything about the people who were killed in the flooding, and that Erdoğan’s statements about the CHP are “unacceptable.”
“I called on him [Erdoğan] to account for the people killed in the flood, but he described it as ‘petty politics.’ His attitude is petty politics already. We submitted a legal proposal to evacuate the basement floors of the apartments during the previous legislative term, but they are just now debating this issue. Then they accuse us of pursuing petty politics. This is unacceptable,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
CHP deputies have also appealed to the Constitutional Court to scrap a recent bill banning strikes for the aviation industry. The main opposition party will also ask the top court tomorrow to annul a new law regarding the sale of property and land to foreign nationals.