Former CHP head lectures coup panel, storms off

Former CHP head lectures coup panel, storms off

Former CHP head lectures coup panel, storms off

A coup panel is against regulations, the former CHP leader says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Deniz Baykal, a former leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has refused to testify before a parliamentary panel saying it violates Parliament’s internal regulations and called on panel members to question its authorities.

“The counterparts of the parliamentary inquiry commissions are public authorities, the executive and the general administrations. However, the inquiry commissions cannot hear individuals, civil society organizations, journalists, famous names from show business, administrators, owners of private corporations and politicians who are not related with public institutions. A group of lawmakers cannot question other lawmakers through inquiry commissions,” Baykal said at Parliament’s Coups and Military Memorandums Inquiry Commission yesterday.

The commission’s sub-committee on the Feb. 28, 1997 and April 27, 2007 memorandums called Baykal to testify regarding all military coups in Turkey, on the grounds that he was a significant figure in recent Turkish political history.

Baykal appeared before the commission yesterday and explained why he would not speak. Parliamentary inquiry commissions can only hear official authorities regarding their inquiry issues according to Article 103 of Parliament’s internal regulations, Baykal said.

According to Baykal, a parliamentary commission cannot question individuals by making arbitrary calls and the commission cannot use its inquiry right for investigation.

Noting that legal probes into the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and Feb. 28, 1997 military memorandum are ongoing and that there are many suspects pending trial, Baykal said the commission’s foundation was unconstitutional.

“If you are aiming to increase public support of these ongoing trials and aiming to lend support for expansion of the probes toward certain parts of society, this is a loud and clear breach of the Constitution,” Baykal said.

Baykal left the commission room after his speech, refusing to hear the explanations of the commission chair, Nimet Baş. Baş said they had called Baykal to testify as he was a witness to the issues under the commission’s inquiry and that internal regulations allow hearing politicians as they are “specialists” on their issues. Baş said Baykal had previously testified before the Corruption Inquiry Commission without any reservation.