And of course current Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan wants to keep his seat for another two years. But who willl Erdoğan prefer? Who will take the number two seat in
Today, the big picture in the AKP suggests that unless something unexpected happens, Toptan will become the AKP’s nominee again. Balances inside the party give him the opportunity. Another balance factor is identical with the reason why Toptan was selected two years ago: that is, he is from the center-right. A similar discussion took place as Bülent Arınç and Nihat Ergün were included in the Cabinet. Influence of the “National View” in the Council of Ministers was stressed following the reshuffle. In such a critical period, it is most likely that Erdoğan will prefer Toptan in order to remain outside a new set of discussions. His two-year performance increases Toptan’s chance. Even a single example is enough; the “mine bill” discussions for instance…
The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, raised hell during the discussions and Toptan’s impartiality was questioned for leading the talks. And of course, his giving support to the AKP in the last two years in some other issues was also criticized. Toptan is most likely the winner. If Erdoğan doesn’t make a surprise bid, the Parliament Speaker will be Toptan again. I am afraid, former ministers having eyes on the seat will have to be satisfied with having six years of experience in the Cabinet.
Questions remain unanswered
In the 23rd legislative term, Parliament got involved in plenty of legislation. A total of 233 laws were enacted in two years. Of 416 motions of investigation, only 58 were approved and eight investigation committees were formed. Deputies, on various issues, submitted a total of 8,587 motions of question, only 4,144 of which found an answer. The picture shows that most of the questions asked by Parliamentary deputies to the government remain unanswered. Parliament falling short of monitoring activities was also questioned. Ministers not answering or avoiding questions caused criticisms that Parliament fails in the monitoring process. Even in the AKP group, deputies lamented that ministers were aloof to motions for question. Apparently, this problem will occur again in the upcoming period as well because Parliament will be involved in many legislative activities in the new legislative term; the first to be handled will be the Trade and Debts Law drafts containing hundreds of articles.
Genç’s humorous suggestion to Evren
The discussion of "Judging generals involved in the Sept. 12 military coup" continues at full speed. Tunceli Independent Deputy Kamer Genç was a member of the Advisory Council of the Sept. 12 administration. As he was reminded that the top commander of the Sept. 12 process and the former President Kenan Evren said that he would commit suicide if he is put before the judge, Genç was quick to respond: "He shouldn’t raise other’s hope for nothing. Let him not wait even for a minute. If he wants to commit suicide, let him… Number of responsible of the Sept. 12 process is Evren and he should face trial..."
Attempts that have not been actualized create discomfort not only among the party grassroots but also among parliamentary deputies. And that is being felt in the party administration as well. In order to eliminate the feeling, the administration is preparing for a quite serious move in autumn. And the concern that the AKP may be closed by relating the party with the Deniz Feneri corruption case has a share in it. For this reason, an “Autumn Plan” is being considered in the AKP. It will be revealed in Parliament, be brought to life afterwards and a short- and middle-term timeline will be set. The timeline, in a way, will give body to an AKP road map by the next general elections. How will it be shaped?
The constitutional change is the most important part of the short-term plan. And the most critical subtitle is “making political party closures more difficult.” With this, the AKP wants to remove the risk of a possible closure case and to make amendments in political parties and elections laws in a small change package. A 100
In the autumn of 2009, the AKP is preparing for a critical commencement. But one has the urge to ask, “Why is it the autumn of 2009?” For the plans make rumors of an “early election in 2010” more possible. Is the AKP planning to kill three birds with one stone? To save itself, to make democratic openings and to corner the opposition by a rush election. We’ll see.
- The DTP might turn ‘hawkish’
The “hawks” and “doves” fight in the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, has flared up in the Central Executive Committee meeting this week. The hard-liner Emine Ayna and moderate Ahmet Türk differed about withdrawing an appointment request from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “Let’s not withdraw it” insisted Türk as Ayna and her friends drag afoot for canceling the appointment request. The hawkish wing won and the request was withdrawn. That shows if the government cannot take any solid stance in the solution of the Kurdish issue, the DTP may becp,e toughened under the influence of the hawkish wing. And Türk’s power may not be enough to prevent this hard-liner stance.
- Human Rights Emergency Service!
Although experts on the issue such as Burhan Kuzu, head of the Constitutional Commission, assert, “This is not legitimate,” a political decision has already been made. Sometimes it is quite easy to harmonize law with politics! But only if the government – I mean the Parliament majority, leader or leading figures – say, “Yes.” So, in line with this political decision, Gül will sit as president for five years and remain in Çankaya until 2012. If he is nominated again, Gül may run for a second five-year term.
The president of
Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan himself said these two regulations are needed immediately. He insists that Parliament should pass two separate bills on these two critical issues. “We have to pass a law for the presidential election,” he said. “A law on how presidential elections will be held and how applications will be submitted is needed. Besides, we need another law to enact the four-year tenure for Parliament. And we should do this as soon as possible.”
The Parliament speaker seems eager because he is concerned that the Supreme Election Board, or YSK, will take the initiative if the required law is not enacted. If Parliament cannot adopt regulations, the YSK will get involved and its rules will be applied. What happens if YSK does not follow the political wishes? Will the tenures in Parliament and the Çankaya Presidential Residence be changed? It is less likely to say, “This doesn’t happen in
Of crocodiles and Aborigines, Turks and Kurds
Deputy Sırrı Sakık of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, was our guest at the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review’s Parliament bureau. He said that everyone should do his or her share to stop the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.
“I learned something new yesterday and am very impressed. Crocodiles and Aborigines in
‘CHP protection zone’ demanded
Following the March 29 local elections, Erdoğan delivered a speech at a parliamentary group meeting where he talked about the AKP’s victory in the Akyazı elections. “We have gained over 11,000 votes here. The Republican People’s Party [or CHP] won only 139 votes,” he said. Some AKP officials watching Erdoğan on Parliament TV started to send the following text message to the AKP’s Sakarya Deputy Sefer Üstün: “You better take 139 CHP voters under protection. It seems that the CHP is becoming extinct in Akyazı… Declare a CHP protection zone over there…”
While Üstün was showing the message to his friend and laughing on one side, he was saying, “You bet these should be protected,” on the other.
The governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has had difficulty in Parliament for the first time despite holding 338 seats there. One of the reasons is the rumor that an Israeli company could be awarded a lease on the land for 44 years after clearing it of mines. The National View front in the AKP is offended by the suggestion. But the "deep resistance" has some other reasons behind it.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan changed more than half of the AKP representatives in the July 22, 2007, general elections. Most of the newcomers were well-known professionals in their own fields and at the beginning, they were eager to make serious contributions in these areas, from law to administration. But in time they have come to feel "dysfunctional" in Parliament and consider themselves only a part of Parliament’s arithmetic. Deputy meetings were not enough to bury the hatchet. With the latest change in the Cabinet, the disturbance hit its peak. And the wave of discontent spread slowlyÉ
Unhappy AKP deputies took advantage of the landmine bill to send a strong message to Erdoğan by not attending General Council meetings. Erdoğan met the parliamentary group and even made a headcount behind closed doors. Over 70 deputies did not attend the meeting.
This was clearly a civil disobedience, one that occurred without even two years passing since the general election. We do not know if Erdoğan and his team will read this message accurately, but if the trouble is not removed, small-scale revolts inside the party may cause other serious problems. In summary, alternatives to Erdoğan exist. If the offended AKP deputies are not convinced and not addressed, Erdoğan could have a headache in the future from the possibly more serious problems.
Was the constitutional change shelved?
Right after the March 29 local polls, the AKP rolled up its sleeves to prepare to make constitutional change. The party’s legal commission made a study and prepared a small package of 10 articles. But following the fierce reactions from the opposition, the AKP did not transfer the package to Parliament. But what will be the fate of this package? Parliament will adjourn for the summer on July 1, and critical legal regulations will be waiting. So a constitutional change over the summer is not likely. Says an influential AKP official: "We are discussing the matter. It will be in Parliament in the fall." But it seems that if there is no "surprise," the AKP’s small package will be shelved until fall.
Parliament’s tough choice
Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and the late Türkan Saylan, the president of the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life, or ÇYDD, were nominated for the Parliament Honorary Award this year. Free Democracy Party, or ÖDP, leader Ufuk Uras nominated Pamuk and CHP deputy Canan Arıtman nominated Saylan. As Parliament does not grant awards to the deceased, Pamuk will probably end up running against some other nominees. According to a Parliament Council member, "Uras cleverly nominated Pamuk. Deputies have to grant the award to Pamuk in order not cause remarks like ’A Nobel Prize winner is not being awarded by Parliament.’" We’ll see if Parliament confers the award on Pamuk.
Making it difficult to close political parties and establishing the right for individuals to apply to Parliament, were included in a package presented to PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The opposition doesn’t entertain the idea. Then, what will happen in this case? I traveled with Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan on the Bandırma ship from Istanbul to Samsun and talked about the constitutional changes in detail.
Toptan believes Turkey needs a "civilian constitution." He said a founding council could be formed to conduct the relevant research. Since he cannot have support for that, Toptan added, Parliament is far away from this target today. According to him, CHP leader Deniz Baykal, who implied support for a founding council, does "nothing" in this direction. What is Toptan thinking about limited constitutional changes?
He says if any offer is made by any parties Ğ emphasizing, even if it comes from the DTP Ğhe could evaluate this. "I will take this offer and visit other political parties. And I can say, ’Such and such party suggested this constitutional change, what do you say? Let’s set up a commission of conciliation.’ I can start the process, but it is impossible for me to lead political parties." Upon being reminded that the AKP is working on constitutional change, but the CHP and MHP are reacting against it, Toptan said, "Let’s not lose our hope at all," as a way to send a message to the opposition parties. The parliament speaker stressed that a change is a must for the president’s and Parliament’s terms of office, adding he would visit party leaders for a Parliament bylaw offer.
Veteran politicians uniting in center
President-elect of the Democrat Party, or DP, Hüsamettin Cindoruk, despite his age, has taken the seat for a mission. A political guru, Cindoruk will bring parties to the center until the next local polls Ğ two years from now Ğ in order to establish an alternative to the AKP. For this, Cindoruk will first merge with the Motherland Party, or ANAP, which former DP leader Mehmet Ağar failed to do with ANAP’s former leader Erkan Mumcu.
New ANAP leader Salih Uzun is warm toward this project. A unification commission is on the way. The technical details will be discussed in this commission, which will work to unify the two parties. If there is a strong party in the center, this project shouldn’t be regarded as a project being conducted by only Cindoruk and Uzun. Two veteran politicians are behind this new formation: ninth President Süleyman Demirel and former PM Mesut Yılmaz. We’ll see if the experienced names of the center-right will be able to set up an alternative to the AKP.
Even Toptan uses jammer
Doubts about being phone-tapped are being revealed one after the other. It’s been revealed that after former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt, Toptan is using a special device to prevent tapping. Let’s hear what Toptan says: "I heard that someone in Denizli was making this device. If you place this inside the phone, no signal is being transferred out. I did so. But it ran out of battery, and I threw it away. It’s been 15-20 days. This is not because I am concerned. But let’s see what happens. It really prevents signals out." I think, even at the top of the state, almost everyone thinks they are being tapped.