Ombudsman takes oath amid protests

Ombudsman takes oath amid protests

ANKARA - Hurriyet Daily News
Ombudsman takes oath amid protests


Mehmet Nihat Ömeroğlu walks to the podium in Parliament to take the oath to serve as an ombudsman. Opposition MPs protested the ceremony.

Mehmet Nihat Ömeroğlu took the oath to serve as ombudsman in Parliament on Dec. 5 amid protests by deputies of both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). A retired member of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Ömeroğlu’s election as chief ombudsman has led to public outcry due to his role in the conviction of the late journalist Hrant Dink.

As Ömeroğlu approached the rostrum to take the oath, CHP deputies raised banners in protest and turned their backs to the rostrum. While he was taking the oath, both CHP and BDP deputies knocked on their tables. Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies didn’t join the protest, as ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies applauded Ömeroğlu.

“Lawmakers are free. They can both say everything and also protest. In democracies, all of this is extremely normal,” Ömeroğlu told reporters following the oath-taking ceremony.

Ömeroğlu was among the judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals who approved the late journalist Dink’s sentence under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.