Opposition blocks meet on new charter

Opposition blocks meet on new charter

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The crucial second stage of the constitution-making process hit a snag yesterday as the Republican People’s Party (CHP) blocked Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek’s plans to hold a meeting with the advisers assigned by parties to help draft the new charter.

The CHP argued that the advisors -- mostly constitutional law scholars picked up to assist the parties on legal technicalities – cannot meet with the Speaker in the absence of the lawmakers who make up the Constitution Conciliation Commission.

The party’s objections forced Çiçek to cancel the meeting, which was supposed to be the first gathering in the second stage in the constitution-making process, during which the Commission would write a draft text.

“We did not find it right for the Speaker to meet separately with the advisers, so we said we would not send ours, and Çiçek cancelled the meeting,” CHP’s commission member Atilla Kart told the Hürriyet Daily News. “If there is to be a meeting regarding the writing of the content, the Commission members must always be present. We are the primary components. It is wrong to bypass the deputies,” he added.

Trouble in coup panel

There were more tensions in Parliament late May 2 when lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were elected to all four leading posts on a newly-created inquiry commission that would look into Turkey’s military coups and interventions.

Former education minister Nimet Baş was elected as chairwoman, while her fellow AKP members Naci Bostancı, İdris Şahin and Şahin Cengiz Yavilioğlu became respectively deputy chair, spokesperson and secretary.

“The coup commission got down to work with a coup,” the CHP’s Mehmet Şeker protested, arguing that at least the deputy chair should have been elected from the opposition as a courtesy to many opposition members of the Commission who were personally victimized by coups in the past.