Post-referendum bylaw meeting disperses amid Turkish opposition criticism

Post-referendum bylaw meeting disperses amid Turkish opposition criticism

Post-referendum bylaw meeting disperses amid Turkish opposition criticism The parliamentary meeting convened to discuss the harmonization of a parliamentary bylaw dispersed without any conclusion amid criticism from the opposition parties, which decided to propose their own draft plans separately.

“In an environment where parliament is clearly undermined, the main issue facing the country is not this bylaw, it is the dismissal of the state of emergency and the reestablishment of parliament’s honor,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in a letter conveyed to Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman on June 8.

The letter came after Kahraman called on leaders of the political parties represented at parliament to be convened in order to discuss the harmonization of the parliamentary by-law in accordance with the amended constitution, which was narrowly approved in the controversial April 16 referendum.

Criticizing the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who retained his chair as head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after the referendum, Kılıçdaroğlu said Erdoğan’s case leads to “methodical problems.”

“The parliamentary group leader of the AKP is not its current leader. So this meeting is not in accordance with political ethics. The meeting between leaders should be among leaders. That is why the deputy parliamentary group leaders should attend the meeting,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Although he is now once again leader of the AKP, Erdoğan cannot perform the duty of parliamentary group leadership as he is not a lawmaker. In order to surpass the problem, the party has appointed Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım as acting leader, a move that has been widely criticized by the opposition parties.

“If the [meeting aims for] a parliamentary regulation that will ensure freedom of expression and speech of the party groups and lawmakers and will strengthen parliament, then it is possible for our deputy group leaders to attend and discuss the issue by taking the previous works into consideration,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated.

In a meeting attended by AKP Deputy Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş, CHP Deputy Group Chair Levent Gök, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Group Chair Erkan Akçay and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Group Chair Filiz Kerestecioğlu, the parties concluded to propose their own draft plans for the parliamentary harmonization laws.

‘Two methods’

Kahraman, meanwhile, said the application of the constitutional amendment could be achieved in two phases.

“The adaptation regulations that are required by the new constitution could be done in the first phase. In the second phase, a brand new internal regulation could be made within the period before 2019,” he said prior to the meeting.

Justice Ministry moves to harmonize laws with amended constitution 

A draft law stipulating changes to 132 articles of 16 different laws in order to harmonize them with constitutional changes passed in the April referendum was submitted to the government on June 8.  

The Justice Ministry sent draft bills to the cabinet, which will later be submitted to parliament after necessary procedures, amid expectations that they will be legislated before the end of this year. 

Turkey underwent a drastic change in its governance system through a controversial referendum on April 16 that introduced a presidential executive system while abolishing the office of the prime minister. It also renewed the entire structure of the judicial system. 

Among the laws to be amended are the Military Penal Code, the Code of Judges and Prosecutors, the Law on the functions of the Constitutional Court, the Code on the Court of Disputes, and laws on the structure and functions of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State.  

The harmonization process requires changes to 132 articles of 16 different laws.