MHP, BDP vow not to leave charter talks
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the oppostion The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), adresses his lawmakers in Parliament. DAILY NEWS photoThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) yesterday declared their commitment to the constitution-drafting process, joining the other two parties represented in Parliament in making pledges never to quit the negotiations.
“The MHP will not leave the negotiating table. We will keep at it until the end,” MHP deputy chairman and Constitution Conciliation Commission member Faruk Bal told the Anatolia News Agency. Bal also outlined his party’s “red lines” for the new charter, many of which in stand in stark contrast to the BDP’s demands for broader Kurdish freedoms.
The MHP would object to education in mother tongues, changes aimed at introducing a federal or presidential system, and any amendments to the first three articles of the current charter, Bal said.
Bal dismissed speculation that the MHP could team up with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to pass the new constitution if the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the BDP abandon the process.
“We don’t even want to talk about this. We want [the new charter] to be based not only on political
but also on social consensus,” he said.
The BDP’s Hasip Kaplan also told reporters yesterday that his party would not leave the negotiations, despite their differing opinions with the other parties.
Despite the declarations of goodwill, political squabbles continued yesterday as the parties held their weekly parliamentary group meetings.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli slammed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s calls for a presidential system, saying that Erdoğan “is spoilt beyond measure” and was treating the country “as a test tube, doing whatever he pleases.” Erdoğan is already governing Turkey under an “unnamed authoritarian system,” he said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also bashed Erdoğan over the prime minister’s verbal attacks on Cumhuriyet columnist Bekir Coşkun, who had likened the Turkish military to a tame dog. Kılıçdaroğlu also stepped up his criticism of pro-government media.
“If you have conditioned yourself to make headlines of whatever the prime minister says, then I’m sorry, but you are not a free, but a sycophant media,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. Turkey’s intellectuals must resist the government’s oppression, or else they will be “betraying democracy,” he added.