AKP challenges opposition over democracy, party closures

AKP challenges opposition over democracy, party closures

AKP challenges opposition over democracy, party closures

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Turkey’s ruling party has challenged opposition parties over a constitutional amendment that makes party closures much more difficult and called on them to support the move if they are really against the closure of political parties.

“While he [Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party - CHP] is dealing with groundless fear, we are dealing with our vision and marching for our targets in democracy. Let me see if you can! If they are really against party closures, here is the day then,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told his parliamentary group March 10.

Davutoğlu made the call after his party submitted a draft constitutional amendment that authorizes parliament to give the last word on party closures following Kılıçdaroğlu’s public statement that the government was planning to shut down the CHP.

“Our 228 lawmakers signed the bill and submitted it to parliament,” Davutoğlu said, noting that he instructed his party officials to accelerate the process for passing the amendment. The AKP, with its 312 seats, cannot alone approve the amendment and therefore needs the backing of other opposition parties.

Davutoğlu accused the CHP of being insincere on the issue and blamed it for playing the victim to attract votes in the upcoming general elections. Kılıçdaroğlu never stood against party closures in the past and even tried to seek advantage when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was faced with closure in 2007, he said.

“You cannot expect the sound of a nightingale from a crow. The CHP is the crow of democracy. The nightingale of democracy is the AK Party,” he said.

Davutoğlu also criticized Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş over his remarks that the government would be obliged to hold an early election in the event his party fails to enter parliament. “Here is another crow,” he said, slamming Demirtaş for threatening the government.

“The language of threat cannot be the language of democracy. Otherwise you would not have sparked the Oct. 6-7 incidents,” he said, referring to mass rallies around Turkey in which police and far-right elements were responsible for the majority of deaths that occurred during demonstrations against Ankara’s perceived support for jihadists in the siege of Kobane in Rojava.