Kurdish bid panel approved by Parliament, as MPs engage in fight

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News – 10.4.2013 – The Turkish Parliament approved on April 9 a proposal from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to establish a “Resolution Process Assessment Commission,” to monitor the ongoing peace process.  

However, the parliamentary session again became the scene of high tension, with legislators just stopping short of trading blows over a row concerning the AKP’s proposal to establish an investigation commission concerning the current peace process. Both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) introduced proposals on the same issue, but containing different content and aims. This similarity paved the way for a merging of the proposals.

The AKP, however, laid the ground for the controversy with a tactical maneuver in which it sought to ensure that its proposal was merged with the CHP’s suggestion by petitioning its own members to prevent the CHP from withdrawing its proposal. By doing so, the AKP guaranteed a minimum number of signatures in the event that the CHP intended to withdraw its motion. Since 20 is the minimum number eligible to make a proposal, it rendered the AKP eligible to keep a proposal as well. The CHP’s inability to withdraw its motion enabled the AKP to pave the way for the merging of the two proposals.

CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu initiated the party’s proposal, but he was among the CHP deputies who withdraw their signatures from the motion. Tanrıkulu’s withdrawal came after a meeting with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.After the proposals were merged by Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Sadık Yakut in line with internal regulations, CHP deputies, led by the party’s deputy parliamentary group chair, Muharrem İnce, loudly objected to the decision.

İnce said the proposal should no longer be named “a CHP proposal” since 18 CHP deputies, including the first signatory, Tanrıkulu, withdrew their signatories.

Eventually, İnce’s argument was accepted and both of the proposals were declared to be “AKP proposals” before being merged.  “AKP deputies put their signatures under my proposal without my knowledge, but the proposals are not identical. If the AKP wants to draw support from the CHP, it should withdraw its own proposal and lend support to the CHP proposal,” Tanrıkulu said. The BDP’s deputy parliamentary group chair, İdris Baluken, meanwhile, supported the AKP’s approach, suggesting that merging the proposals was in line with internal regulations.  Earlier in the day, Oktay Vural and Mehmet Şandır of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) released a joint statement saying they would not participate in voting on the proposal and would not assign deputes to the planned commission.