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Impressions from the most partial opening ever of parliament.

President Erdoğan opened Parliament as party leader. The Parliamentary Speaker turned a blind eye to the CHP.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 02 Ekim 2017 Pazartesi, 16:11

The HDP did not take part in the opening of the legislative year. The opening speech was made by a party leader for the first time since the transition to multi-party life. President Erdoğan replied to a question about non-participation by HDP members at the special session by saying, “You know their place is Qandil.”
 
Following the opening ceremony, Erdoğan, Yıldırım, Bahçeli, the Chief of the General Staff and the chairs of the supreme judicial organs held a summit in the Parliamentary Speaker’s office. Kahraman, who initially said, “We invited everybody,” corrected himself when challenged and apologised.
 
The following are impressions of key events at the ceremony and special session held yesterday to mark the opening of the third legislative year of the 26th period of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey:
 
* The new legislative year was embarked on in circumstances under which ten MPs are in detention, nine of them from the HDP and one from the CHP. Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman and President Tayyip Erdoğan declined to comment about the detained MPs.
 
* Prior to the session, the first leader to arrive in the opposition lobby was CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Kılıçdaroğlu spoke at great length to CHP MPs. The second leader to arrive in the lobby was MHP General Chair Devlet Bahçeli. Bahçeli also spoke to MHP MPs for some time.
 
No HDP participation
 
* To draw attention to the circumstances surrounding its detained MPs, the HDP’s MPs did not take part in any of the ceremonies held yesterday. HDP MPs made an announcement in front of Edirne Prison, where HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş is being held in detention.
 
MHP stands without applauding
 
* With AKP members giving a standing ovation on President Erdoğan’s entry to the general assembly chamber, MHP leader Bahçeli and MHP MPs simply stood. The CHP MPs, for their part, did not stand and applauded at no point during the speech, either.
 
* CHP Group Deputy Chair Engin Altay approached Parliamentary Speaker Kahraman during President Erdoğan’s speech. From what has been gleaned, Altay, noticing a number of officials from the President’s Office, went to Kahraman and alerted him. Following the alert by Altay, Kahraman removed these people from the chamber.
 
* With non-participation by the HDP MPs leaving general assembly benches looking empty, succulent flowers known as thornless cacti were left on the MPs’ benches.
 
* It was notable that, along with the teleprompter set up on the general assembly rostrum for President Erdoğan’s speech, a teleprompter was installed for Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s address to the Bureau of the Assembly.
 
“Their place is Qandil.”
 
* President Erdoğan replied to a question about non-participation by HDP members at the special session by saying, “You know their place is Qandil.”
 
* Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım put in his first working day in the prime-ministerial office since its repair after being damaged on the evening of 15 July. Yıldırım convened with Chief of the General Staff Akar.
 
He said, “We invited him” and then apologised
 
Following the opening of the new legislative year, a meeting lasting some twenty minutes took place in Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s office with the participation of President Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım, MHP General Chair Devlet Bahçeli, Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar, Constitutional Court Chair Zühtü Aslan and Court of Cassation Chair İsmail Rüştü Cirit along with certain ministers and MPs.
 
Kahraman, responding to journalists’ questions about the meeting from which Kılıçdaroğlu was markedly absent, replied, “We invited everyone. He probably had an engagement,” suggesting that Kılıçdaroğlu did not attend the summit despite being invited. A curt announcement came from the CHP group immediately after these comments by Kahraman. In the announcement, stating, “The information that General Chair Mr Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had been invited to the meeting held in the Parliamentary Speaker’s office is incorrect,” it was made known that Kılıçdaroğlu neither knew about the get-together nor was invited to the meeting. It was noted in the announcement that Kılıçdaroğlu had replied to Kahraman saying, “It does not become the Parliamentary Speaker to lie.”
 
“Apology” phone call
 
Following Kılıçdaroğlu’s response to Kahraman, a further second announcement came from the CHP group. It was stated in the announcement that Kahraman phoned Kılıçdaroğlu and apologised. Parliamentary Speaker Kahraman noted in the reply he gave, “The meeting took place as is customary in the Speaker’s office following the opening of parliament and Kılıçdaroğlu was also invited but, due to his being at the rostrum, there may be a case of negligence or inability to deliver by the officials who were to forward the invitation.” In the announcement, Kahraman is stated to have called Kılıçdaroğlu and said that compensation would be made, saying “we will offer qadha next time round.”
 
Hug on being received
 
Parliamentary Speaker Kahraman and CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu encountered one another in the reception following the polemics over the meeting. Kahraman, who was receiving invitees on entering the chamber, hugged Kılıçdaroğlu. It has been learnt that Kahraman repeated his words about there having been a disconnect to Kılıçdaroğlu here. Kılıçdaroğlu, replying to journalists’ questions, commented with reference to the apology phone call, “The Parliamentary Speaker spoke of there having been a disconnect and apologised. There is no disconnect on our side.”
 
Support requested
 
A “witty” conversation took place among the leaders at the meeting unattended by Kılıçdaroğlu. President Erdoğan asked Bahçeli if his party’s provincial and sub-provincial conferences had been completed. Bahçeli made known that, “Apart from one or two provinces, the provincial and sub-provincial conferences have been completed.” At this, Erdoğan, referring the AKP’s conference process, joked to Yıldırım, “Look, they’ve sorted it out. You still have plenty to do.” Erdoğan requested support from the opposition over harmonisation legislation at the meeting. And MHP leader Bahçeli reacted positively to this request from Erdoğan.
 
Nobody has been harmed by the state of emergency!
 
In his speech that he made at the opening of Parliament for the first time as AKP General Chair, President Tayyip Erdoğan claimed in response to criticism of the state of emergency that the government was exercising “very few” of its powers. Erdoğan, wishing for the harmonisation legislation in relation to the amended constitution to be used as an opportunity “to turn it into a comprehensive administrative reform,” cautioned, as if unaware of government policies, that “Unnecessary steps be avoided that will disturb and trouble the people and create question marks in their minds.” These comments by Erdoğan have been interpreted as being in reference to the tax increases that have elicited a public reaction. In summary, Erdoğan expressed the following views in his speech opening the new legislative year:
 
Let us turn the harmonisation legislation into an opportunity: “There is a need for work to commence immediately on provisions, chiefly the harmonisation legislation, that will enable the new system to come to life with the greatest possible vigour. We will have to have completed preparations before 2019. I hope the work will not just consist of weeding out wording in the constitution and statutes. We must use this opportunity that has presented itself to us to turn it into a comprehensive administrative reform.”
 
Tax increase message?: “My expectation of the government is for it to implement measures that will make our citizens’ daily lives easier without compromising on financial discipline. It is vital that unnecessary steps be avoided that will disturb and trouble the people and create question marks in their minds.”
 
Acclamation while unable to mention the CHP: “On the mandate for military action, I wish to state that I acclaim the unity and togetherness displayed in our parliament, with the exception of one party. This is precisely what our people have been longing to see. I hope that this solidarity over national matters will be displayed more frequently and more forcefully in the coming period.”
 
Reaction to criticism of the judiciary: “I cannot countenance anyone directly or indirectly supporting structures that the judiciary declares to be terrorist organisations. I find there to be nothing correct in statements and attitudes that amount to an affront on our entire judicial system from our supreme judicial institutions to our judges on the bench and our prosecutors.”
 
We are implementing the state of emergency lightly: “There are certain characterisations regarding the state of emergency implementation that are really unacceptable. Extraordinary threats call for extraordinary measures. Furthermore, it is a fact that the government is indeed exercising very few of its state of emergency powers and just makes recourse to these means over pressing matters. Apart from terrorist organisations and their members, nobody has been harmed by the state of emergency.”
 
The referendum in Northern Iraq: “The Northern Iraqi Administration that expects support from far off for the sake of setting Turkey against it is ultimately condemned to suffer future disappointment. If the Northern Iraqi Administration mends its way and reverses the error it has made, Turkey will remain by the side of these brothers of ours.”
 
We have no further need for the EU: “We will not be the party to bring this process to an end. If you face facts, we have no further need for the EU. If the EU is to make a move today, there is only one way of doing this and that is to make Turkey a member and embark on a move in the direction of economic and cultural expansion. If the EU does this, we are on board.”
“Where is Atatürk?”
Parliamentary Speaker Kahraman, speaking of the evening of 15 July, said the leader in preventing the coup was President Tayyip Erdoğan, who called for the people to take to the open spaces and for unity and resistance. At this point, the CHP’s İbrahim Özdiş called out, “Where is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, speaker?” Kahraman, noting that new work will performed on the parliamentary building in line with the increase in the number of members of parliament in the new period, said that the mosque built in Turgut Özal’s time would be rebuilt in accordance with the needs of the day. Kahraman indicated that points contained in various laws on MPs rights and duties needed to be brought under a single statute.

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