ANKARA, — Lawmakers from Turkey’s main
opposition party took the parliamentary oath Monday,
ending a row with the ruling party over the
detention of several deputies elected in June’s
polls from behind bars.
The Republican People’s Party, which holds 135 seats
in the 550-member legislature, had
boycotted the opening ceremony of the
parliament in June along with Kurdish deputies in
protest at the imprisonment of the elected
The CHP and the ruling Justice and Development Party
(AKP) issued a joint statement Monday, calling on
all deputies who had refused to take the oath to be
sworn in and participate in parliamentary work.
Turkish parliament. Photo: AP
“We believe that all political parties and lawmakers
should be in the parliament to fulfill the honored
duty bestowed on them by our nation,” the statement
The statement made a direct call to courts to
“interpret and apply” the laws in a way that will
Defying a 2007 precedent, courts last month refused
to free nine opposition lawmakers, elected while
awaiting trial in prison. The courts said the
deputies risk to flee trials or hide evidence.
Two of the detained deputies, journalist Mustafa
Balbay and academic Mehmet Haberal, were elected on
the CHP ticket. They were imprisoned more than two
years ago on charges of involvement in alleged plots
to destabilize and overthrow the AKP.
Six of them were Kurdish activists in jail on
charges of links to PKK rebels.
Adding to the controversy, the authorities stripped
one of them,www.ekurd.neta
prominent Kurd, of his parliamentary seat and handed
it to the AKP, raising the party’s majority to 327
A bloc of Kurdish-backed deputies, who have not
shown up at all in parliament since its opening,
were not included in the negotiation process between
the CHP and the AKP to find a solution over the row.
The Kurdish lawmakers have convened in Diyarbakir,
the largest city of the restive Kurdish southeast,
instead of Ankara since parliament opened.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Monday
the decision of the CHP lawmakers to be sworn in.
“As you know, this was our expectation. This means
that everything can be [solved] if one acts with
common sense,” Anatolia news agency quoted Erdogan
Both Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul called on
Kurdish deputies to take the parliamentary oath.
“They belong to [parliament] … I believe they will
come and take the oath in the shortest possible
time,” Erdogan said.
“I hope [Kurdish] deputies will participate in the
parliament, fulfill all their responsibilities and
start working as lawmakers,” Gul said, Anatolia
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