CHP warns Parliament Speaker not to commit ‘constitutional crime’ on graft notices

CHP warns Parliament Speaker not to commit ‘constitutional crime’ on graft notices

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has no choice but to have the summary of proceedings regarding four former members of the Cabinet over a massive corruption probe read out at a General Assembly session and submitting the related documents for lawmakers’ information, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has warned.

The remarks by CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi came at a press conference on March 13, when he announced that the CHP had appealed to the Office of Parliament Speaker, asking him to call Parliament for an extraordinary session on March 18 in order to get the summary of proceedings read out and also to hold a general debate on the proceedings afterwards. The appeal was signed by 132 lawmakers of the 134-seated CHP.

“We expect from our Parliament speaker the submitting of related documents and files for lawmakers’ information, while having the summary of proceedings read out at the Parliament on the day when the extraordinary session is set,” Hamzaçebi said.

“The Parliament speaker has no choice other than having the summary of proceedings read out at the General Assembly and submitting the related files and documents for lawmakers’ information. The Parliament speaker does not have any discretion such as not submitting the documents for lawmakers’ information or having a substance of the summary of proceedings read out, instead of having the full summary of proceedings read out.”

Convening the Parliament for an extraordinary session requires a petition signed by at least 184 lawmakers. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have already declared their support for the CHP’s appeal and the total number of three opposition parties is enough to meet this criterion.

The summary of proceedings in question are about four former ministers - former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former EU Minister Egemen Bağış, former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Environment Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, who had to resign from their position after the Dec. 17 graft probe.

As of March 12, at the cost of sparking a harsh reaction from the CHP, Çiçek indicated that he would only get a substance of the summary of proceedings read out at the General Assembly.

“We will not get into the content of the summary of proceedings. We will just submit for the General Assembly’s information that such a paper has come,” Çiçek said, noting that misinterpretations concerning the procedure were widespread among public. “When we assess them by looking at practices, the judgments in our internal regulation and the Constitution, then there would be no need for so many questions.”

Nonetheless, the CHP is not of the same opinion as Çiçek regarding the procedure.

“We expect the Parliament speaker to act in line with the constitutional judgment. Otherwise, he will get himself into a debate about legitimacy. Not reading out the summary of proceedings and not submitting the information and documents that are attached to them for lawmakers’ information is a constitutional crime,” Hamzaçebi said.