The story of the vanishing 3 million Turkish Liras

The story of the vanishing 3 million Turkish Liras

As was expected, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek announced the special parliamentary commission that was to achieve reconciliation between the parties in writing a new national charter for the country has failed. Three million Turkish liras were spent as the expenses of the special commission, including, an average 10,000 TL salary for an army of “constitutional experts” he disclosed. Thus, after two years of deadlock, Çiçek concluded that the commission which was (not) established to achieve any sort of reconciliation (anyhow) has concluded there could be no reconciliation between the parties on a huge number of “red lines” and thus no new constitution can be written.

Right, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had its own priorities. It wanted to carry Turkey with the new constitution to a presidential system, preferably with no changes in the local governance system, but could reconcile a system with stronger local governance, provided the Kurdish deputies offered their precious supportive votes. The AKP could agree as well on many of the Kurdish deputies’ demands, except their demand for education in Kurdish language, as such a move might scare the nationalist vote away and might be rather costly in the elections. That is, the AKP’s position was rather clear.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), or the political wing of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), had its own priorities and high on the list was demand for education in Kurdish. Could the AKP and BDP reconcile in that rather thorny area? Probably. Anyhow, the AKP had agreed to education in the Kurdish language and already walked a step or two. The BDP had some other demands, including the release, or at least transfer to house arrest of the enforced life-term convict separatist chieftain, as well as some far reaching powers for mayors, (including transfer of local police and schools). The worst was the demand to change the first three articles introducing Kurdish as a second language and altering the description of nationhood to make Turkey the home of Turks and Kurds.

As innocent as they might appear, the nationhood description, as well as the BDP’s language demands, were moves that would drastically change the nature and description of the Turkish republic, putting an efficient end to the claim of nation-state and introducing a federal governance. Thus, right from the beginning, anyone with some brains would see that under no condition the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), irrespective of what scenarios played and who was brought to the helm of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), no such constitution might ever be written by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Such demands were taboos from both parties and remained so all through the past years, though in regard to Kurdish language education, the CHP tilted a bit towards the AKP view.
Anyhow, the CHP was not objecting to the education of Kurdish language, it considered use of Kurdish as second language in education detrimental for the national and territorial integrity of the Turkish nation-state, which was sacrosanct for it. The MHP was even against the teaching of Kurdish language in schools; put aside its condemnation as treason for education in Kurdish or even the use of the word “Kurdistan” by the prime minister in Diyarbakır at a mass wedding ceremony.

Then, what did Çiçek announce? Did he announce the failure of the constitutional reconciliation commission or informed the nation that the commission helped exhaust, not a huge amount of money but still, 3 million liras? Was this not a good example of the mismanagement of public funds?

This story, obviously, is not yet over...