Municipalities bill aims for federalism: Bahçeli
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Each promise made in Oslo by the government to the PKK is turning into concrete projects one by one,’ Bahçeli says. DAILY NEWS photoNationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said yesterday that a proposed law on metropolitan municipalities would lead to social disintegration and aims at gradually turning Turkey’s administrative system into a federal form of government.
The unity and integrity of the administrative system would be disrupted if this bill is enacted, Bahçeli said in an address to his party. A second day of debates on the bill continued at Parliament’s Internal Affairs Commission yesterday.
“Each promise made in Oslo by the government to the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK is turning into concrete projects one by one,” Bahçeli said, in an apparent reference to the secret meetings between representatives of the Turkish government and the PKK that were allegedly held in Oslo, Norway between 2009 and 2011.
This mentality is meant to disintegrate, break up and divide in an administrative sense, Bahçeli said.
The draft resolution criticized by Bahçeli was submitted to Parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) last week. According to the draft bill, new districts will be formed in metropolitan municipalities and 52 non-metropolitan cities. 1,582 towns with populations of less than 2,000 will cease to exist as separate legal entities, while 18,200 towns will be turned into districts.
The AKP’s Deputy Chair in charge of local administrations Menderes Türel denied that the individual powers of municipalities would be centralized by the bill.
“On the contrary, the authorities of local administration are being increased [with this law]. So, we are only now able to fulfill requirements of the European Charter of Local Self-Government to which we put our signature at the Council of Europe in 1989,” Türel said in remarks published in yesterday’s Radikal Daily, stressing the importance of looser relations with Ankara and greater independence in resolving local challenges.
The issue was also raised by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in an address to his party’s parliamentary group yesterday. Residents of municipalities scheduled to be eliminated should have their opinions considered, Kılıçdaroğlu said, noting that the CHP has conducted such “referendums” in 98 towns with populations of less than 2,000. Around 123,000 people cast their ballots and 98 percent of those people objected to the closing down of their municipalities, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
He said the CHP favored democracy while the AKP was favoring an authoritarian government, calling on citizens to “do [their] part” in tomorrow’s election.