The boycott meant more than 30 per cent of elected
MPs refused to take their oath as parliament
convened for the first time since the June 12th
election. Turk court refuses release of jailed
ANKARA, — The third term of the
Turkish prime minister got off to a turbulent start
yesterday when the main opposition party and
minority Kurds boycotted parliament’s swearing-in to
protest against bans on elected candidates.
Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party, which has turned Turkey
into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies,
had promised after its comfortable election win to
seek consensus on a new constitution.
But the boycotts by the main opposition Republican
People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and
Turkish parliament opens amid opposition boycott.
(BDP), the party supported by the bulk of Turkey’s
20 million Kurds, could force mass by elections and
stoke separatist violence in the restless, mainly
Kurdish, southeast. The CHP won 135 seats in the
Meanwhile, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party
(BDP) - which won 36 seats in the elections -
boycotted the ceremony entirely, after the elections
board stripped deputy Hatip Dicle of his seat
because of a conviction for spreading "terrorist
propaganda." The seat was awarded to a runner-up
“We will not take the oath unless the way is open
for all our deputies to take the oath,” CHP leader
Kemal Kilicdaroglu said, after a court rejected an
appeal for the release of two CHP candidates under
detention without having been convicted.
Eight elected candidates - six from the pro-Kurdish
BDP, two from the CHP and one nationalist - have
been barred from taking up their seats because they
are in jail. . Their seats will remain vacant.
With trials advancing at a sluggish pace, dozens are
kept in prison and prosecutors are yet to secure
convictions. Also barred from assuming their seats
were six Kurdish activists,www.ekurd.netin
prison on charges of links to the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara lists as a
terrorist group for the 26-year separatist
insurgency it has led in the southeast.
President Abdullah Gul has appealed to all parties
to resolve their differences in parliament.
The controversy added to tensions in the southeast
that had flared ahead of the polls amid PKK threats
to step up violence in a conflict that has already
claimed some 45,000 lives. Facing calls for legal
amendments to end the row, Erdogan has shown little
sympathy for the jailed lawmakers, prompting
reminders that he himself was the victim of a
similar controversy when the AKP came to power in
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