FOUR-GROUP PARLIAMENT AWAITS TURKEY ON JUNE 13, SAYS SPEAKER ŞAHIN
Turkey will likely have a four-group Parliament following the general elections, Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin said, projecting that the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, would pass the critical 10% threshold to gain parliamentary seats.
"The situation seems to indicate that the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] will form a one-party government for the third consecutive term," Şahin told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview Monday in the Black Sea province of Karabük, where he is running as a deputy candidate from the AKP.
"I guess the Parliament after the elections will most likely contain four groups," Şahin said, referring to the groups formed by deputies from the ruling AKP, the MHP, the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, and the group expected to be formed by independent deputies supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP.
Şahin also said the writing of a new constitution after the June 12 election will not involve the implementation of a presidential system in Turkey, something that has been mentioned by the prime minister. The new constitution should be rewritten so as to uphold rights and freedoms, the Parliament speaker added.
"What I make of the prime minister's statement is that [the change to a presidential system] should be debated. I am also in favor of debating it. I am not of the opinion, however, that a presidential system will be integrated into the new constitution that will be discussed in the 24th term [of Parliament]," Şahin told the Daily News.
Fundamental rights and freedoms were treated as "exceptions" by the 1982 Constitution, which made bans the rule, according to Şahin, who said the charter must definitely be rewritten in a style founded on the principles of rights and freedoms. He added that he expected other political parties to present their own views regarding how the new constitution should be rewritten.
"If we get stuck on [the irrevocable articles of the Constitution], we would lose much time. The Turkish people have demonstrated that they have internalized those principles expressed in the introductory articles. These [issues] have already been left far behind," Şahin said. "I believe there is no sense in losing time [by debating] them. I personally think discussing the first four introductory articles would deadlock the whole affair."
The first three articles of the Constitution, regarding the "form of the state," the "characteristics of the Republic" and the "integrity of the state, official language, flag, national anthem and capital," are irrevocable under the document's fourth article. Even the suggestion of amendments to them has been considered unconstitutional.
Consensus is a must for new charter
In the interview, Şahin also emphasized the importance of creating the new constitution by reaching "a very wide consensus" and denied claims that the AKP was trying to single-handedly write its own constitution. Reaching an accord with the main opposition CHP would ease efforts to pen the new charter, he added.
The Parliament speaker also urged the BDP to give up its insistence on demands for autonomy or a system composed of separate states within Turkey. If the BDP, with its claim to represent citizens of Kurdish origin, acceded to the formula of a "single country, single state, single nation, single flag," then a consensual text could be produced, Şahin said. Things would go much smoother if the BDP accepted this formula, even if the party members claimed to have different ethnic roots, languages and culture, he added.
"I think there is no need for any concerns [about the AKP forming a single-party government.] The AKP has had no other aim but to develop [Turkey's] democracy since the day it took power," Şahin said, dismissing critics' claims that the ruling party is attempting to establish an authoritarian regime.
"Every deed and every policy enacted by the AKP during its eight-and-a-half years in power is out there for all to see," he added. "The people's support [for the party] also continues unabated."
Air Force Commander of the September 12 military coup Gen. (Ret.) Tahsin Sahinkaya has been testifying about the allegations on crimes against human rights and torture after the coup. Istanbul Public Prosecutor Fikret Secen is getting the testimony at Gulhane Military Hospital, where the 86 year old general is being treated for kidney disease. Yesterday, the 7th president Gen. (Ret.) Evren, Chief of Turkish General Staff in September 12 era testified to the Ankara Public Prosecutor about the same allegations.
"I DON'T FEEL SORRY"
In an investigation into the 1980 military coup in Turkey,
prosecutors questioned retired military chief Kenan Evren, who led the coup in 1980 and then became president.
The interrogation lasted for two and a half hours. Evren said, "There was bloodshed and turmoil in the country. We had to seize power. I do not feel sorry."
PROSECUTORS MAY QUESTION EVREN AGAIN
Officials said investigation regarding retired military chief Kenan Evren, who led the coup in 1980 and then became president, did not end. Prosecutors earlier questioned Evren on charges of spoiling constitutional order, overthrowing government and parliament, but they may question Evren again within the scope of investigation into the 1980 military coup in Turkey.
I AM NOT INSISTENT ON PRESIDENCY
Commenting on presidential system during a TV program the other night, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "This issue has a certain place in my heart, however, I am not insistent. I want it to be discussed". When the host of the program Mehmet Ali Birand closed the broadcast saying "Erdogan had a heartfelt desire for the presidency", the prime minister objected to Birand's remarks.
I WILL NOT TOLERATE THOSE WHO KILL IMAMS
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked journalists who found his stance against Peace & Democracy Party (BDP) very strong, "Shall I tolerate those who killed policemen, those who attacked the car in which there are women and children? Shall I tolerate those who burned face of 13-14 year old children and those who killed Imam?" he said.
MILITARY JURISDICTION ADMITS DOCUMENT DENIED BY BAŞBUĞ
Retired Gen. İlker Başbuğ, former chief of General Staff, who spoke to Milliyet daily denied allegations, which claimed that he intervened in the presidential elections held in 2007. However General Staff military prosecutor's office admitted presence of a document that constituted the basis of the allegations in its petition, sent to Istanbul chief prosecutor's office on May 6, 2009.
TURKISH PM SAYS STATE HOLDS TALKS WITH ALL PARTIES IF IT DEEMS NECESSARY
Prime Minister Erdogan, commenting on National Movement Party's (MHP) criticism against the government for holding talks with the head of the terrorist organization in Imrali prison, said that the MHP was not honest as it held similar talks in the past.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan replied to questions of reporters during a TV program broadcast by Kanal 24. Commenting on the investigation into the September 12 coup, Erdogan said some circles had acted with prejudice and criticized him on the issue very early.
"However, the idea of 'advanced democracy', which I had mentioned earlier, now shows us what a strengthened democracy can do. The principle of state of law is widely recognized in our country and there is an ongoing transformation process within the state," he said.
Erdogan also noted that his party's primary goal was to obtain the necessary parliamentary power to change Turkey's constitution. "This is our greatest wish. Of course, we will not act on our own if our citizens give us such power," he said.
TURKISH FM SUGGESTS HOW TO AVOID FRESH GAZA TENSIONS
Turkey's foreign minister has called on activists to rethink a planned flotilla to the blockaded Gaza Strip and suggested how to avoid fresh tensions after last year's bloodshed, reports said.
"Civic groups should take into account the fact that the Rafah crossing (between Gaza and Egypt) has been opened and... act in a more careful manner," Ahmet Davutoglu said in remarks carried by Anatolia news agency Tuesday.
The minister however insisted it would be "unacceptable" for the Turkish government to demand independent civic groups abandon the mission, planned for late June with 15 ships from various countries.
In May last year, Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla led by a Turkish Islamist charity, killing nine Turkish activists and plunging ties with Ankara into deep crisis.
In separate remarks, Davutoglu said the expected formation of a transitional Palestinian government under a unity deal between the radical group Hamas, which controls Gaza, and the secular Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas might help lower tensions in the region.
"Israel should wait for the formation of the new Palestinian government and then lift the blockade of Gaza," he was quoted as saying on the Hurriyet newspaper's web site Tuesday. "The aid flotilla should wait to see developments following Egypt's opening of the Rafah crossing and how Israel reacts to the new government to be set up in Palestine," he added.
The minister argued a new Palestinian administration would mean that Gaza would no longer be under Hamas control and deprive Israel of the grounds for the blockade.
"A crisis may be overcome with certain steps by both sides... If we are talking about common sense, you can take those words of mine as common sense," he said.
On Sunday, Palestinian officials suspended operations on their side of the Rafah crossing amid a spat with Egypt over capacity and coordination.
International activists, who gathered in Istanbul last month, insisted they would sail to Gaza on the grounds that the Israeli blockade remained in place. They said 15 vessels would leave for Gaza from several Mediterranean ports around June 20, with some 1,500 activists from about 100 countries on board and hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid.
Ties between one-time allies Turkey and Israel remain in crisis after last year's bloodshed, with Ankara demanding an apology and compensation for the victims' families.
THERE WILL BE MASSACRE, RUN AWAY TO TURKEY
Bashar al-Assad sent his army to the town near border with Turkey, in which 120 policemen were killed. The massacre of the police in the town was 20 km away from the Turkish border. The Syrian government said, "We will not pity those who killed our police," and signaled a military operation.
Syrian opponents told those living in the region that soldiers of al-Assad would hold a very big massacre and warned them to run away to Turkey.
TURKISH PRESIDENT CALLS FOR CHANGE IN EUROPE
Turkish President Abdullah Gül called for "change in Europe," saying global power balances had shifted. "The power balance has moved to Asia. It is time to rethink Europe. It is time for change," he said in a conference as part his visit to Poland, which is set to assume the rotating helm of the European Union.
AKP 'DIVIDING' TURKEY, SAYS NATIONALIST LEADER
Turkey is being dragged into an atmosphere of chaos, crisis, and conflict and the current ruling party is to blame, according the head of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP.
The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, "has brought on many threats and dangers to our country," leader Devlet Bahçeli said during a Tuesday election rally in the western province of Uşak.
"During the AKP's rule, the nation-state and the unitary structure were questioned, our lands have faced the risk of being divided, and political mistakes were made that brought us face to face with divisions based on the foundations of ethnicity and belief. These dangers continue, but the prime minister has yet to understand where he has brought the country," he said.
"The prime minister is asking for 330 seats in Parliament in order to change the Constitution, but he has yet to share his plans for the Constitution with the people," said Bahçeli, calling on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reveal details so that citizens can vote with full information.
"It is unknown how he is going to do everything he could not do during the nine years he was in power in his next term. He has gone crazy, and he is trying to fool the people with his crazy projects," said the MHP chief.
"The AKP should not come back a third time. Being saved from the ruling party will also mean saving Turkey from the brink of separation," he said.