Absence of CHP leader from Turkey’s top state officials meeting sparks debate
The absence of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at an extraordinary Oct. 1 meeting attended by top statesmen and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has sparked a debate between the CHP and the parliament speaker.
The third legislative year of the Turkish Parliament launched on Oct. 1 with a special session, with top state officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, gathering at Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s office in an unexpected meeting also attended by Bahçeli, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, top judges, political party officials and deputies.
After CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu did not attend the 25-minute meeting, Kahraman told reporters that an invitation was sent to him but the CHP leader had another meeting to attend.
Kılıçdaroğlu denied Kahraman’s comments, saying he had not received an invitation.
“It does not suit the parliamentary speaker to lie,” he told reporters.
It was subsequently reported that Kahraman called Kılıçdaroğlu on the phone to apologize “for the lack of communication.”
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan has said he will meet the MHP and CHP leaders over the recent independence referendum in the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
“I have a meeting with Bahçeli on Thursday [Oct. 5], then I will receive the opinions of Kılıçdaroğlu by sending him an invitation, if circumstances allow,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 1 at the opening ceremony at parliament.
He said the opinions of the leaders would “enrich the process at this stage” regarding further steps that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will take about the referendum.
The KRG voted on independence from Iraq on Sept. 25 amid disapproval from the neighboring governments of Iran, Turkey, world powers, and the Baghdad government.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Oct. 2 urged KRG officials to pursue talks with Baghdad.
“They should sit with the Iraqi government and the rights of northern Iraqi government should be secured within the scope of the constitution. We would support this. In this way the issue could be settled amicably, otherwise, it will get more difficult to manage the issue,” Yıldırım said at the reception.
He also added that Ankara opposed the independence referendum of Catalonia in Spain, which took place on Oct. 1 amid the Spanish government’s attempted suppression.
“Just as we oppose the northern Iraqi [referendum] it is normal that we also oppose this [Catalan referendum]. The background of the issue should be examined. Forming an early opinion would be a mistake,” Yıldırım said.
“EU countries should be the first to respond. As they are all one state, let’s see how they respond. We have given our reaction to our neighbor, they will give their reaction to their neighbors,” he added.