Turkish PM defiant over absence on Nov 10

Turkish PM defiant over absence on Nov 10

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was noticeably absent from the top statesmen who participated in official commemoration ceremonies to honor the 74th anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Nov. 10. Thousands of people visited Anıtkabir, the tomb of the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

“Is it a constitutional crime? Is it legally a crime? Then why didn’t the main opposition [Republican People’s Party – CHP] attend the Oct. 29 ceremonies?” Erdoğan was quoted as saying in remarks published on Nov. 11. His remarks, in which he referred to the fact that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu attended a rally organized by nongovernmental organizations on Oct. 29, Republic Day, instead of participating in official ceremonies, came when he was reminded that his absence during official Nov. 10 ceremonies led to controversy.

“Oct. 29 is an official ceremony. Participation is a requirement beyond custom. However, many times over the last 10 years I have not seen the opposition there,” Erdoğan said.

The first ceremony for Nov. 10 was held at Anıtkabir by high officials led by President Abdullah Gül.

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Kilicdaroglu, head of the Constitutional Court Haşim Kılıç, Court of Appeals head Ali Alkan, head of the Council of State Hüseyin Karakullukçu, ministers, commanding officers of the military, representatives of political parties and bureaucrats attended the ceremony.

While the official ceremony was being held inside the tomb, thousands of citizens were gathered around Anıtkabir. The roads to Anıtkabir were closed to traffic for security reasons in the capital city, where intense security precautions were taken following tensions that occurred during the Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations held in front of the former Parliament building in Ulus, Ankara.