Opposition up in arms against gov’t decree
The opposition parties expressed criticisms against the newly declared state of emergency decrees which brought about extensive regulations from economy to judiciary.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced it will appeal to the Constitutional Court, while opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) called out all political parties to convene an extraordinary session in parliament.
Bülent Tezcan, CHP spokesperson, especially criticized an article by which the civilians who have fought against the putschists are exempted from any criminal liability for their deeds during the coup attempt and “in following terror incidents.”
“This article is an article to build civil armed forces by the hands of the government,” Tezcan said following an extraordinary meeting of the party’s Central Executive Board on Dec. 25.
CHP’s meeting came a day after the government issued two more state of emergency decrees that made extensive amendments to over 50 different laws.
Tezcan argued that the article amounts to a “covert amnesty,” and it signals a further legal loophole for future actions committed under the name of “counter-terrorism.”
“It is a very dangerous process. It is just like placing an ignited bomb on the heart of society,” he said.
“These regulations which militarize the society and the state and paves a way for the formation of armed civil gangs should immediately be lifted,” he added.
The decree includes only incidents that happened on the night of the coup attempt and the following morning, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesperson Mahir Ünal said at a press conference on Dec. 25.
“Let’s clarify something. [The decree] is about the attempt on July 15, 2016 and the morning of July 16,” he said.
“It was declared to avoid any legal responsibility over the brave people who held their country with their bare hands and protected the country at the cost of their lives that night and the following morning,” the spokesperson said, adding that claiming the item in the decree would cover actions against current terror acts is “only disinformation.”
Tezcan also criticized the reshaping of top courts with the government decrees.
“With the new state of emergency decree, we see that the high judicial bodies are being regulated,” he said.
“Executive bodies cannot regulate judicial bodies with State of emergency decrees. State of Emergency does not grant you with this power. Why do you need to regulate the number of members of the Council of State? We know why you have an urge to regulate because you are pursuing dictatorship,” he added.
Criticizing the Constitutional Court’s previous decision that refused to give a verdict on the state of emergency decrees, Tezcan said the main opposition will appeal to the top court one more time.
“The Constitutional Court reversed its own precedent because it has been acting as a coup court, not as a constitutional court,” he said, recalling that the top court had ruled in 1991 that the emergency decrees have to be compatible with the aims of the state of emergency.
He stated that the regulation which changes the configuration of high judicial bodies has breached the legal boundaries of the state of emergency rule.
“You are trying to create a judiciary which is silent for the crimes you have committed and lack any justice and conscience against your enemies,” he said.
HDP calls opposition to gather in parliament
The opposition HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen has called out opposition parties to convene the parliamentary assembly, underlying the immediacy of the issue.
“We make an appeal to all parties and all lawmakers for an urgent convention of parliament,” Bilgen stated on Dec. 25.
“Tomorrow can be too late,” he added stating that decrees will “make Turkey face a dilemma between a civil war and a coup, and inactivate Turkey’s democratic mechanism.”
Leading Business Group reacts
Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) issued a written statement on Dec. 25, criticizing the controversial article as being “open-ended.”
“Open-ended regulations within the context of the new decree might lead consequences which would not be suitable for the principle of the state of law,” the statement read.
“Our concern is an intensification of the division and insecure environment in our society. These regulations might harm the vision of democracy, security and state of the law in Turkey,” it added.