Parliament opens with coup attempt on agenda
Bülent Sarıoğlu - ANKARAThe new legislative year of the Turkish parliament is set to kick off on Oct. 1, as debate on decree laws issued under the state of emergency are expected to dominate the agenda.
After an opening speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the general assembly will discuss the extension of a mandate authorizing the deployment of the Turkish army into Iraq and Syria and allowing the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil.
A mandate given to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) by parliament in 2014 was extended for another year in September 2015.
While the mandate is expected to be extended for another 12 months with the support of the majority of the opposition, things are expected to get tough when decrees issued by the government during the state of emergency are discussed in parliament.
According to a parliamentary bylaw, each and every decree law should be discussed within 30 days, but failure to do so has no sanctions. If a decree law brings amendments to articles of laws, they will be discussed in parliament, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ had said earlier. Dismissals in public service were not an issue of parliamentary discussion because they were practices implemented at one time by decree laws, he had said.
The first decree law, out of eight submitted to parliament, included state institutions that were closed after the July 15 failed coup attempt, while following decree laws included public service dismissals. If the Constitutional Court rules that post-coup decree laws which the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) applied to annul were not under its authority, then one will not be able to challenge decisions for discharges in national law. Therefore, methods for decree law discussions in parliament are expected to vary.
Meanwhile a new “mini package” for amendments to the constitution is expected to be another topic of discussion in parliament. Representatives from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have agreed on a seven-article constitutional amendment package, but the party leaders will finalize the package before it is discussed in parliament.
Parliament’s general assembly convenes on Oct. 1 without any prior call to start the new legislative year, according to the constitution. Erdoğan will be received by 160 honor escort soldiers from the General Staff and then address parliament in the first session.
Meanwhile, construction work at the parliament building, which was bombed by coup soldiers on the night of the July 15 coup attempt, were continuing. The opposition lobby has already been renewed, while the works on the prime minister’s office, which will turned into a museum, were ongoing.