Çiçek left alone in his terror call

Çiçek left alone in his terror call

Çiçek left alone in his terror call

Deputy PM Bülent Arınç slams Çiçek’s move to seek consensus on terror fight. REUTERS photo

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has found no takers on his call for parties to gather to take action against terrorism, receiving instead heavy criticism from both the opposition and his own party.

“Frankly speaking, I could not determine who he was calling on,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who is also from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), meanwhile, downplayed and criticized the motion.

Çiçek’s call for political parties to come together to take action against terrorism was not directed at the government, said Arınç, while describing the speaker’s 11-article “National Consensus against Terror” as “a memorandum.”

“The government is not [the intended audience for] this. Çiçek needs to explain whether its addressee is intra-parliamentary – the deputy parliamentary chairs of the political parties – or civil society organizations. Maybe, he meant to say, ‘I am the speaker of parliament and I would like to declare this 11-article memorandum in line with the people’s wishes,’” Arınç, the AKP government’s spokesperson, said late Aug. 27 at a press conference following a Cabinet meeting. “We will ask the esteemed speaker what his goals were when we meet.”

Arınç did express his appreciation of the content of the statement but reiterated that Çiçek should clarify who its intended audience is. “The esteemed speaker may have an explanation in the upcoming days. I really do not know that whether it is a text that parties should sign, or if it is just an opinion written for the public,” Arınç said.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu played down Çiçek’s call, accusing him of insincerity. The CHP had recently called for an extraordinary session of Parliament to discuss the conflict in the southeast, Kılıçdaroğlu said. “Why didn’t Çiçek show up and lead the extraordinary meeting? He should have taken the chair, but he didn’t. That’s why I do not find him sincere,” Kılıçdaroğlu said late Aug. 27 in a televised interview.

MHP Secretary-General İsmet Büyükataman joined the chorus of voices rebuffing Çiçek, accusing him of being on the wrong track. “Some [political] circles suffer from the delusion that terrorism cannot be resolved with security measures alone, and Çiçek has made the same mistake. This allegation does nothing but demoralize our security forces, who have fought heroically for over 30 years. This is not the time for speaking: It is a time for action and to demonstrate the force of the state,” Büyükataman said yesterday in a written statement.

Gov’t cool toward MHP immunity proposal

Arınç also commented on the MHP’s proposal to lift the legislative immunity of some Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers who gathered with and embraced outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants on Aug. 17.

There is no need for a special law to lift the lawmakers’ immunity, Arınç said, indicating that a joint parliamentary commission can submit motions to the Parliament’s General Assembly to lift the immunity of lawmakers if and when needed.

The process of drafting a new constitution is ongoing, Arınç said, and the issue of legislative immunity may be amended by Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission. “We have to see what the four parties will have to offer on the subject of the right of immunity. I think we should redefine immunity in our new constitution, rather than create partial amendments.”