War of tactics continue on education bill debate

War of tactics continue on education bill debate

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
War of tactics continue on education bill debate

This file photo shows Nabi Avcı (C) head of the Parliament’s education commission arguing with a lawmaker from the main opposition party during previous meetings. AA photo

A war of tactics is expected to mark the debate on the controversial education bill in Parliament next week, with the main opposition planning to mobilize crowds and take to the streets.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is mulling measures to prevent the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) from occupying the rostrum in the General Assembly, a tactic that has proved useful to stall proceedings.

The CHP, for its part, has decided to hold its parliamentary group meeting in Ankara’s Tandoğan Square on March 27, the day when the debate is expected to start. The unprecedented meeting is expected to turn into a rally of the main opposition.

The AKP wants the bill passed by the end of next week, teh party’s deputy group chair Nurettin Canikli asserted. “We expect that it will be approved by Sunday [April 1]. The opposition of course can use its statutory rights to block the bill. They can express their criticism and use their right to speak. But we will never allow the occupation of the rostrum,” Canikli told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The CHP had besieged the rostrum last month during a debate on a bill amending Parliament’s internal rules. The AKP eventually agreed to suspend the draft, which would have curbed the speech time of opposition lawmakers in Parliament.

The education bill has sparked similar tensions and brawls. The opposition insists that the bill’s adoption in a chaotic atmosphere and amid fistfights at Parliament’s Education Commission was unlawful and has asked Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek to nullify the proceedings.

The CHP will decide its General Assembly strategy on the bill early next week. It is considering various tactics such as a sit-in, lengthy speeches at the rostrum. However, some CHP members are said to be annoyed by such “show-off tactics.”

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also argued yesterday that putting the bill on debate at the General Assembly would be a violation of the Constitution.

Speaker Çiçek signaled he might make another effort to defuse the row by opening a procedural debate in the General Assembly on how the issue should be handled.

Education Commission chairman Nabi Avcı however insisted that Çiçek has no authority to nullify or change the decision of the Commission.

In a response to a letter by Çiçek, in which the Speaker had urged him to consider the opposition’s objections, Avcı said that opposition lawmakers could raise their objections in the General Assembly.
In a related development, CHP deputy Mahmut Tanal sued four Commission members, among them Avcı, for “abuse of office” and “drawing up false documents.” Tanal indicated that even though CHP deputies requested to speak at the stormy Commission debate, they were registered as
“absent” in the minutes.

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