CHP makes second attempt on disputed education reform

CHP makes second attempt on disputed education reform

CHP makes second attempt on disputed education reform

This file photo shows Parliament Speaker Çiçek taking his seat in General Asembly. Çiçek is under pressure from the CHP toı annule a commission approval on education bill. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has made a second application to Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek to nullify the approval of the education reform bill at a meeting of Parliament’s Education Commission, after examining audio tapes from the stormy meeting.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, however, played down the CHP’s drive to have the proceedings nixed, saying that the opposition’s “unlawful requests” cannot stop parliamentary work.

“There are 326 [lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)] and the figure for the opposition is obvious. The opposition is attempting to dominate those 326 even though it holds only half as many seats. We can’t allow the minority to dominate the majority,” Erdoğan told reporters yesterday.

The row over the education bill has dominated Ankara’s agenda since March 12, when the AKP rushed the draft through the Education Commission in a session marred by unprecedented brawls and squabbles. The tensions erupted after CHP lawmakers found themselves stuck at the door of the tiny room, packed in advance with AKP deputies. The commission’s chairman took advantage of the chaos and hurriedly read out the draft, which was approved by AKP votes in half an hour. The CHP has already asked Çiçek to nullify the proceedings on the grounds that basic procedural rules were violated.

The CHP then examined the minutes and audio recordings of the meeting, which, the party says, confirmed that requests by CHP lawmakers to speak fell on deaf ears. The minutes say that no one requested to take the floor on certain articles, whereas CHP can be heard asking to speak in the tapes.

Education Commission chairman Nabi Avcı’s conduct at the meeting flouted Parliament’s internal rules and the debate should be renewed, the CHP claimed in its second application yesterday. Çiçek has said he is personally reading the minutes and will make a decision after receiving the final report of the commission, which is expected to reach him by Monday.

Meanwhile, Çiçek reiterated his concerns that the tensions could derail the inter-party drive to draw up a new constitution for Turkey, during a meeting of the constitution-drafting panel March 15.