Members of election board will face judge, Turkey’s main opposition leader says
ANKARAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed members of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) will appear in court as consequences for a controversial decision made during the April 16 constitutional referendum, adding that his party had already appealed.
“Those who made that decision, who intervened and those who are responsible for this unlawfulness will be tried in the future,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on July 27, while addressing a group of students in the southern province of Antalya.
The CHP says the referendum was “illegitimate,” claiming that there were many voting irregularities in the referendum and a YSK decision to accept unsealed ballot papers, which came only after the start of the vote count, casts a shadow on the outcome.
The CHP calls the constitutional referendum, which will pave the way to give sweeping powers to the future president, an “unsealed election.”
“Not only the unsealed ballot papers; the YSK had also intervened [in the referendum]. We are seeking our rights. We made our appeals and objections both in Turkey and abroad,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
‘Sit-in’ protest in parliament over by-law discussions
CHP lawmakers staged a sit-in protest in parliament on late July 26 while the parliament voted on 14 articles of the 18-article amendment draft of the parliamentary internal regulation.
Arguing that they had not been given enough floor to speak during discussions, CHP deputy group leader Özgür Özel said, “The CHP group will not leave parliament tonight and will show peaceful resistance as had been done during the ‘justice march’ as a reaction to the silencing of the opposition.”
“As the amendment had been brought to the general assembly agenda as a basic law, our 54 lawmakers had the right to speak. However, only 21 CHP lawmakers had been given the floor to speak, and [with the amendment] their 10-minute speaking time will be reduced to three minutes,” Özel said.
The CHP’s protest, which ended before the general assembly on July 27, was criticized by Deputy Parliament Speaker Ahmet Aydın and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“This is not the street; it is the parliament of the people. Please avoid any attitudes or actions that would endanger the parliament and quit any actions that are not suitable for it,” Aydın said.
MHP group leader Erkan Akçay, on the other hand, accused the CHP of “transforming the general assembly to a field of demonstration.”
However, opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy group leader Filiz Kerestecioğlu supported the action. “To protest is a right. I hope the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] will understand soon,” she said.
The lawmakers were then escorted by the parliament’s police officers to leave the assembly at night, however, they continued their protest during the day on July 27.
The lawmakers ended their protest chanting, “rights, law, justice,” a slogan which was primarily used in Kılıçdaroğlu’s “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul.