Çiçek worried on reforming charter

Çiçek worried on reforming charter

ANKARA - Hurriyet Daily News

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has expressed concerns that mounting tensions between the ruling party and the opposition in Parliament could undermine the drive to draw up a new constitution for Turkey.

“The political arena is very sharp-edged. I’m trying to maintain my neutrality. Even if a single amendment leads to polarization, I have worries when I come to think about what we are going to discuss on the constitution,” Çiçek said late Feb. 14 at a meeting of the cross-party constitution-making commission.

His comments came in response to the main opposition, which accused the speaker of siding with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and blamed him for the eruption of fistfights in the General Assembly last week that forced the suspension of a debate on draft amendments to Parliament’s internal rules. The row also led also the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to boycott a meeting of the constitution-making commission.

“You wouldn’t know what rows took place that evening behind the scene. I was also very much disturbed by what happened,” Çiçek said.

In a written statement late Feb. 14, Çiçek said that critical remarks by CHP leader Kemal Kilicdarogluearlier in the day were “unacceptable and saddening.” Using colloquial language, Kiliçdaroðlu had described Çiçek as disappointing and inept for the speaker’s job.

Tensions in Parliament climbed further this week over a draft amendment the AKP is pushing in a bid to provide a legal shield for the chief and other officials of the National Intelligence Organization (MÝT) against a controversial probe on suspicion that MÝT colluded with Kurdish militants.