Cross-border strikes mandate tops parliamentary agenda

Cross-border strikes mandate tops parliamentary agenda

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Cross-border strikes mandate tops parliamentary agenda

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek renews his call for politicians to deal with the terrorism issue in a non-partisan way as Parliament is set to reopen on Oct 1. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Terrorism and an extension to the military’s mandate to carry out cross border operations in northern Iraq will dominate Parliament’s immediate agenda after Oct. 1, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek said while renewing his call for politicians to deal with the issue in a non-partisan way.

“I am of the opinion that one of the first issues to be discussed at Parliament once the legislative year begins will be extending the mandate allowing the military to conduct cross border operations. Violent incidents continue still. Thus this issue will be on the Parliament’s agenda before Oct. 17,” Çiçek told the private broadcaster NTV in an interview yesterday.

The military’s mandate pledged by the Parliament ends Oct. 17 although a request for extension is expected. “The government will likely ask for a one year extension of the mandate,” Çiçek said.

Solving problems
“It is my desire that discussions at Parliament will be [of a] very important [nature]. All our parties would do better to make proposals to solve the problem instead of making global statements,” Çiçek said.

Last month Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek became the subject of criticisms from all political parties after he introduced a text calling for all parties and individuals to stand against terror under the title of “National Consensus against Terror.” Defying critical remarks against his statements, Çiçek had said he made the call as “citizen Cemil.”

“Looking at the person who said [something] instead of looking at what has been said is a habit of Turkey. I’m discussable. I’m not unquestionable but the heart-burning incident is continuing. What will you say when you discuss me?” he said.

Politicians’ duty
Recalling that the nation mourns almost every day at the funerals of fallen soldiers and innocent civilians, the speaker re-emphasized that it was the politicians’ duty to find a solution to the problem of terrorism currently plaguing the nation.

Despite the fact that Turkish security forces currently exert great efforts to confront terrorists, Çiçek said people are right to ask questions like “Why can the army not defeat 3,000 to 5,000 terrorists?” The parliamentary speaker claimed this kind of question also reflected people losing confidence in the government and their growing concerns about national security.

In an ongoing debate over lifting the immunities of some Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers, Çiçek called the issue a sensitive and political topic. Although he refrained from making an official comment on the issue, he said he will send cases to the relevant commissions once they have been sent from the office of the prime minister. “The parties will decide how to proceed with these cases at the commission,” he said.

Çiçek said all four parties have sat around the same table with a sincere commitment to renew the nation’s charter and that no party has the right to leave before this is accomplished, when asked about the BDP threatening to leave Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation if their parliamentary immunity is revoked.