Turkish deputy breaks record for longest speech in Parliament
From online dispatches
Engin Özkoç (L) during an argument in Turkish Parliament. AA photoA deputy from Turkey's main opposition party spoke for 12 hours at a commission that discussed the education reform today.
Engin Özkoç from the Republican People's Party (CHP) had said yesterday that he would speak for 12 hours at the commission if the bill that increased mandatory education from eight to 12 years with three tiers of four years each was not withdrawn to be debated in detail.
Özkoç stayed true to his word, speaking for 12 hours non-stop at the commission, save for restroom breaks. The CHP deputy began speaking at 3:15 p.m. yesterday and finished his speech today at around 3:15 a.m., broadcaster NTV reported on its website.
Özkoç did not have a speech prepared and read from booklets related to education that were prepared by nongovernmental organizations.
Commission chair Nabi Avcı from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) did not initially permit Özkoç to use the restroom when the deputy asked to do so but subsequently relented when Özkoç said he "would not be responsible for the consequences" if he was prevented from using the facilities.
Özkoç did not consume anything other than water and fruit juice in his 12-hour speech, during which other CHP deputies in the commission asked long questions to allow Özkoç to take breathers. An ambulance and paramedics were also kept in front of the commission building, reports said.
CHP deputy Muharrem İnce asked Avcı to adjourn the meeting when Özkoç was eight hours into his speech but Avcı said Özkoç had to finish his address before the meeting could be declared adjourned. Avcı reportedly refused to give a dinner break either.
Education Minister Ömer Dinçer joined the commission and listened to Özkoç for seven hours. Dinçer reportedly told Özkoç that he was “abusing his right to speak.”
The voice recorder in the commission chamber overheated after 11 hours and had to be turned off for 15 minutes to allow the device to cool off.