MHP proposes taking oath with holy books

MHP proposes taking oath with holy books

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
MHP proposes taking oath with holy books

Jewish-origin Turkish citizen Cefi Kamhi is one of non-Muslim lawmakers of Turkish Parliament in the past. Hewas elected to Parliament in 1999. DHA photo

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), known for its ultranationalist sentiments, has suggested the use of holy books during the oath-taking ceremony for the members of Parliament to recognize Turkey’s religious diversity.

The MHP’s offer is part of its proposed legislation chapter introduced to Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission.

“When beginning service, members of Parliament take an oath holding the holy book in which they believe,” the MHP proposal reads.

The MHP preferred not to say “by holding the Koran,” assuming that there may be non-Muslim lawmakers being elected to Parliament in the future. There have been non-Muslim lawmakers in the past, although there are none at the moment. Most recently, Jewish citizen Cefi Josef Kamhi was elected to Parliament in 1999 from the True Path Party (DYP).

Members of the Constitution Conciliation Commission from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have distanced themselves from the MHP’s proposal, arguing that “holding holy books during oath-taking is a Christian tradition.”

“I swear upon my honor and integrity, before the great Turkish nation, to safeguard the existence and independence of the state, the indivisible integrity of the country and the nation, and the absolute sovereignty of the nation; to remain loyal to the supremacy of law, to the democratic and secular republic, and to Atatürk’s principles and reforms; not to deviate from the ideal according to which everyone is entitled to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms under peace and prosperity in society, national solidarity and justice, and loyalty to the Constitution,” the current oath text reads.

In their proposals, both the AKP and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) eliminated the expression “before the great Turkish nation,” while the AKP also eliminated “Atatürk’s principles and reforms.”

The oath-taking procedure for lawmakers has been entirely annulled in the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) proposal.

The MHP, meanwhile, opposed any kind of presidential system, defending a continuation of the parliamentary system. It also offered establishment of a “political ethics commission” for lawmakers and said parliamentary immunity for lawmakers who are involved in terror crimes should be eliminated.