Turkey's ruling AKP 'ready' to attend graft notices session at Parliament
'The AK Party cannot be a party that escapes from the Parliament,' Deputy Chair Hüseyin Çelik said. AA photoTurkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has responded to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and declared that their deputies will attend a possible legislative session to read out a summary of proceedings regarding four former ministers over a massive corruption probe.
“The AK Party cannot be a party that escapes from the Parliament. That’s the nation’s assembly. Whenever, there is a call on a reasonable ground, we will of course be present at the Parliament.
"That’s why, we will respond affirmatively to the opposition’s call for a gathering of the Parliament,” AKP Deputy Chair Hüseyin Çelik said March 13 in response to questions from reporters.
Çelik was speaking just a few hours after the CHP warned that Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek had no choice but to have the summary of proceedings read out at a General Assembly session while noting that the submission of the related documents was for lawmakers’ information.
“I don’t have detailed information in regards to which part of the summary of proceedings will be read out or not. We will all together see the parliamentary speaker’s stance on that day,” Çelik said, when reminded of a debate which was sparked after Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek’s remarks on procedures regarding the issue.
“Of course, when there is a confidentiality order by the courts about an investigation, if this is a state governed by the rule of law, then there is need for utmost attention,” Çelik said.
Earlier in the day, CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi announced that the CHP had appealed to Çiçek, asking him to call Parliament for an extraordinary session on March 18 in order to read out the summary of proceedings and to hold a general debate on the proceedings afterwards. The appeal was signed by 132 lawmakers of the 134-seated CHP.
“We expect from our parliamentary speaker the submission of related documents and files for lawmakers’ information, while having the summary of proceedings read out at the Parliament on the day when the extraordinary session is set,” Hamzaçebi said.
“The parliamentary speaker has no choice but to have the summary of proceedings read out in the General Assembly and submit the related files and documents for lawmakers’ information. The parliamentary speaker does not have any discretion such as not submitting the documents for lawmakers’ information or having a portion of the summary of proceedings read out, instead of having the full summary of proceedings read out.”
Convening the Parliament for an extraordinary session requires a petition signed by at least 184 lawmakers. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have already declared their support for the CHP’s appeal and the total number of three opposition parties is enough to meet this criterion.
The summary of proceedings in question are about four former ministers – former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former EU Minister Egemen Bağış, former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Environment Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, who had to resign from their position after the Dec. 17, 2013, graft probe.
As of March 12, at the cost of sparking a harsh reaction from the CHP, Çiçek indicated that he would only have a portion of the summary of proceedings read out in the General Assembly.
“We will not get into the content of the summary of proceedings. We will just submit for the General Assembly’s information that such a paper has come,” Çiçek said, noting that misinterpretations concerning the procedure were widespread among public. “When we assess them by looking at practices, the judgments in our internal regulation and the Constitution, then there would be no need for so many questions.”
Nonetheless, the CHP is not of the same opinion as Çiçek regarding the procedure.
“We expect the parliamentary speaker to act in line with the constitutional judgment. Otherwise, he will get himself into a debate about legitimacy. Not reading out the summary of proceedings and not submitting the information and documents that are attached to them for lawmakers’ information is a constitutional crime,” Hamzaçebi said.