Speaker in silent bid on jailed deputy’s seat

Speaker in silent bid on jailed deputy’s seat

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has said he is making efforts behind the scenes to ensure that jailed Kurdish deputy Kemal Aktaş retains his parliamentary seat despite a terror-related conviction in an effort to forestall political tensions, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

At a meeting of Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission on March 6, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Atilla Kart warned Aktaş’s conviction could be followed by other sentences against lawmakers of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and deal a blow to the constitution-making process. The BDP’s Ayla Akat Ata and Sırrı Süreyya Önder supported Kart’s warning.

Kart cautioned Parliament might face a crisis similar to the one in 1994 when police handcuffed a group of Kurdish lawmakers after their judicial immunity was lifted.

Çiçek sought to ease the concerns, saying he was making efforts for a solution. “I’m very much irked and saddened by the developments. Don’t think that I’m doing nothing. I’m working on it,” he reportedly said. Despite insistent questions on the details of his efforts, he would not elaborate.

Kart also said the two jailed CHP deputies, Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal, had conveyed their disappointment over Çiçek’s failure to work for their release. The BDP’s Ata said Çiçek should have by now visited all lawmakers who remain in prison in a show of solidarity.Both the commission members and Çiçek lent support to suggestions the leaders of all political parties in Parliament should vocally express their backing for the constitution-making process.

Meanwhile, a delegation from Germany’s Federal Parliament is expected to come to Turkey in April and visit all the eight jailed lawmakers, Kart told the Daily News.