AKP bent on education bill despite Çiçek’s effort

AKP bent on education bill despite Çiçek’s effort

ANKARA-Hürriyet Daily News
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek stepped in to defuse tensions over the controversial education bill, but the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) remained adamant and insisted that the draft would be put on debate at the General Assembly next week.

It emerged yesterday that Çiçek had sent a letter to Education Commission chairman Nabi Avcı, asking him to examine and review objections to the bill raised by the opposition at the Commission and to “do what is necessary,” in line with the Constitution and Parliament’s internal rules.

Çiçek met with the deputy group chairs of the AKP in another apparent effort at compromise, but the ruling party gave no sign of stepping back.

Speaking after the meeting, the AKP’s Mustafa Elitaş said the AKP would go ahead with its plan to take the bill to the General Assembly on March 27 and have it passed in a week.

The AKP rushed the bill through the Commission on March 11, in a session marred by unprecedented brawls, which erupted after CHP lawmakers were stuck at the door of the tiny room, packed in advance by AKP deputies. Avcı took advantage of the chaos and hurriedly read out the draft, which was approved by AKP votes in half an hour without debate.

The CHP has asked Çiçek to cancel the proceedings and return the draft to the Commission for a renewed debate.

Avcı said yesterday he would assess Çiçek’s letter, but added that he did not expect the bill to go back to the Commission for a re-vote.

The CHP group deputy chairman Muharrem İnce dismissed Çiçek’s mediation bid as a distraction tactic and urged the Speaker to use his own authority to cancel the proceedings.