No opposition party at AKP Congress Hall

No opposition party at AKP Congress Hall

No opposition party at AKP Congress Hall

DHA Photo

None of the opposition parties represented in Parliament were present today at the hall hosting the big congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), although the same hall hosted several regional opposition parties.

While the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were invited both groups protested the congress for different reasons. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), however, was not invited to the congress by the AKP at all.

The CHP protested the AKP’s approach of accrediting only select media outlets and the MHP protested the presence of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) president.

Two CHP deputy chairs, Adnan Keskin and Gülseren Onanç, composed the CHP delegation that was supposed to follow the congress.
By following the congress the CHP would be an “accomplice” to the AKP’s crime of violating the country’s freedom of press, Keskin said in a statement today.

“As the CHP delegation, we harshly condemn the AKP’s understanding of censorship, we leave the AKP — which built a so-called path of democracy to the congress hall and which threw democracy and freedom of the press out of the hall — alone at the congress hall. We do not watch the one-man and one-voice show and we do not enter the congress hall,” Keskin said.

The AKP barred some dissident newspapers and TV channels from following its party congress. Daily newspapers Cumhuriyet, Sözcü, Aydınlık, Evrensel, Birgün, Yeniçağ, Özgür Gündem and İMC TV have been vetoed by the AKP and not given authorization to access the congress hall.

As for the MHP, the party had actually RSVP’d to the AKP’s invitation earlier, notifying the AKP of its two deputy chairs, Ruhsar Demirel and Mevlüt Karakaya, as the delegation to represent the MHP.

“Upon confirmation of the arrival of the person whose participation was earlier announced by press and who was introduced as ‘the guest of honor’ to our country, our party’s representation at the convention was called off,” the MHP said in a statement, referring to Massoud Barzani the president of the Iraqu Kurdistan region, who arrived in Ankara on Saturday evening.

As for the case concerning the BDP, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had already put a clear distance between himself and the BDP earlier this month. Erdoğan had openly called on the judiciary to take action against nine BDP deputies, who were seen in August hugging and warmly chatting with members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near Şemdinli in Hakkari province, hinting that his party would act to lift their immunity when the issue comes to Parliament.

Key AKP congress opens in Ankara

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has opened its fourth congress at the Ankara Arena Sports Hall, with party leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife, Emine Erdoğan, receiving a rapturous welcome by thousands of AKP supporters.

Ahead of his entrance from the hall, Erdoğan addressed thousands of AKP supporters who were waiting outside the hall. 

The theme of the congress is “Great nation, great power, vision for 2023,” in reference to the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

During today’s congress, party delegates will re-elect Erdoğan as chairman for the last time, as the prime minister has announced that the AKP will not change internal bylaws preventing party lawmakers from serving more than three terms. Erdoğan is expected to renew his A-team, while one-fourth of the party’s central executive and decision-making board is expected to change.

Erdoğan previously signaled that he would deliver a message of unity embracing people from all segments of society when he reads out the AKP’s highly anticipated “manifesto.”

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi; Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani; Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas; former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder; Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev; former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are all attending today’s congress.

Dissident media outlets prevented from attending

Meanwhile, the AKP has barred some dissident newspapers and TV channels from following its congress, as dailies Cumhuriyet, Sözcü, Aydınlık, Evrensel, BirGün, Yeniçağ, Özgür Gündem and television channel İMC were all refused accreditation for the convention