A delegation of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is set to meet with the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, today and the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, on Thursday to talk on a new charter while the oppostion insists Parliemantary Speaker Çiçek should take the leading role.
Turkey’s two biggest opposition parties have positively responded to the ruling party’s request for an appointment to discuss the new charter but emphasized that they will not permit any party to usurp the parliamentary speaker’s central role in the process.
“We welcome the meetings between the political parties. But we believe the initiative should belong to the parliamentary speaker,” Oktay Vural, the deputy leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, told reporters Tuesday, adding that his party had made its own preparations for the charter with the aim of accentuating the republican system’s advantages.
The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, delegation is set to meet with the MHP on Wednesday and the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, on Thursday.
Parliament, which will begin its legislative year Saturday, will prioritize an overhaul of the junta-made constitution to guarantee more democratic rights. Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has already announced that he will establish a commission in which all parties represented in Parliament will appoint an equal number of deputies.
The AKP requested the appointments with the MHP and the CHP to inform them about the government’s views on the matter. Though the parties approached the request skeptically, they have agreed to meet the AKP delegation led by deputy leader Ömer Çelik. Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin will also join the delegation.
“We will listen to them,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters Tuesday. “You know perfectly that we have no prejudices. Our doors are open to them. But we have already made clear that the process will be under the auspices of the parliamentary speaker,” he said.
The AKP has not yet requested an appointment from the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, because of the latter’s continuing boycott of parliamentary activities, but the government officials did say they would visit the pro-Kurdish party if it ended the action and took the parliamentary oath. The BDP will hold a group meeting in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Wednesday to make a final decision about whether or not to return to Parliament. Selahattin Demirtaş, the party’s co-chair, is expected to announce the party’s decision in a press conference after the meeting.
Çiçek renewed his call Tuesday for the BDP to return to Parliament, saying: “There is a plenty of time until Oct. 1. Let’s move step by step.” k HDN