Resignations, the state of emergency and the upcoming questions
Let me provide you today with a few reflections.
1- Regarding recent signals about “normalization” in the judiciary, the most commonly asked question is whether the state of emergency will be removed in 2018. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) executives and the government not to give any specific date regarding the removal, saying it would not be right to announce a fixed date because of ongoing developments in Syria and Iraq, as well as the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). So it looks like we will live under state of emergency conditions for quite a while yet.
2- Local mayors have been complaining that they had to take permission from the Interior Ministry every time they went abroad due to the state of emergency and have requested that the practice be lifted. The obligation for public officials to get permission from their institutions when they go abroad has been lifted but I do not know whether this also counts for mayors.
3- Meanwhile, discussions about the six AK Party mayors who recently resigned upon the instruction of President Erdoğan are also continuing. Melih Gökçek announced his resignation as Ankara mayor on Oct. 28 and his resignation petition was put into process on Oct. 29. He is therefore counted as resigned starting from Oct. 29. A survey will be carried out within the AK Party, in consultation with President Erdoğan, to define the name who will replace Gökçek. Although current indications suggest Sincan District Mayor Mustafa Tuna, Altındağ District Mayor Veysel Tiryaki has also been suggested.
4- The statements made by departing Bursa Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur, in which he complained about threats made against his family ahead of his resignation, have annoyed Erdoğan. On Nov. 1, Uğur had to deny rumors claiming that his wife had been detained and released.
5- Amid continued discussions, the AK Party has been trying to cool down the issue of the mayors’ resignations. It therefore does not look likely that more resignations will be demanded in the short term. Party branches are said to be concerned that in the future even some elected after 2019 – not just those who have served for a number of terms – will face forced resignations.
6- In a recent column I referred to the claim from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Trabzon deputy Haluk Pekşen that the AK Party carried out the coup attempt. Referring to the 250 killed on the night of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, Pekşen said “they are unanticipated results.” He presented 16 questions in an attempt to prove his claim that the government knew about the coup attempt in advance.
Of course, many more questions need to be asked in order to clear the fog about the coup attempt. I have also written many times that it is necessary to bring into the open all the facts about July 15, 2016. But all the remaining question marks do not remove the central fact that what occurred was a bloody coup attempt.
The CHP is an important party. It also engaged in the struggle against the coup attempt on the night of July, 2016. CHP deputies were at parliament and CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu announced that he was against the coup without any hesitation. Some who went onto the streets against the coup were also from the CHP.
The point I find strange is that the leader of the coup attempt, Fethullah Gülen calls July 15 a “theater” and a “controlled coup.” So why do some CHP deputies also use the same language?