Turkish party leaders absent at historic parliamentary session

Turkish party leaders absent at historic parliamentary session

Turkish party leaders absent at historic parliamentary session

Four female AKP deputies wearing headscarves participated in today's General Assembly meeting. DAILY NEWS Photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

All political party leaders in Parliament, apart from the newest party, chose not to attend today’s parliamentary session, which was attended by four lawmakers wearing headscarves.

Sebahat Tuncel, the co-leader of a newly founded minor opposition party, was the only opposition party leader present at the landmark General Assembly meeting, in which four female AKP deputies participated wearing headscarves without encountering any kind of obstacle.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was in Istanbul to attend Turkey’s 8th Investment Advisory Council (IAC). Both main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli were at their party’s headquarters in the capital city. 

Kılıçdaroğlu did not hold any special meeting at the headquarters, but was dealing with his routine work at his office, officials from the CHP told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu didn’t attend the session because the CHP didn’t attribute any extraordinary meaning to the session,” added the same CHP officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

That was the case for the MHP leader as well, as he was working at his office at the party headquarters, according to MHP officials.

Reminding that Bahçeli customarily only attends Parliament’s special General Assembly sessions, the MHP officials echoed the CHP in saying that they "did not regard today’s session as something extraordinary.”

Selahattin Demirtaş, one of the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) co-chairs, is currently on a political trip to the United States. Gültan Kışanak, the other co-chair, was also absent at the General Assembly hall. BDP officials ruled out any special reason for her absence, underlining their party’s stance concerning the headscarf issue was voiced by deputy parliamentary group chair, Pervin Buldan.

Tuncel, the leader of the four-seated Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was therefore the only party leader at the meeting. Tuncel recently resigned from the BDP and was elected as co-chair of the HDP over the weekend.