I would like to see jailed deputies in Parliament, says speaker Cicek

All nine imprisoned deputies were elected to Parliament in the 2011 general elections, and their nominations to run for Parliament created widespread controversy as they were already in jail.

I would like to see jailed deputies in Parliament, says speaker Cicek

World Bulletin/News Desk

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, who was re-elected to the second-highest state post on Tuesday, has said he would like to see the deputies who are currently in jail in Parliament instead and that he regrets their situation.

Speaking to the Hürriyet daily, Çiçek said: “I very much would like them to be here [in Parliament]. As a human, I feel sorry for them.”

Turkey has nine of its deputies in jail, two from the Republican People's Party (CHP) and one from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who face coup charges and six from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) who face charges of membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban branch of the  Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). All nine deputies were elected to Parliament in the 2011 general elections, and their nominations to run for Parliament created widespread controversy as they were already in jail. MHP deputy Engin Alan was convicted of coup charges last year.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) puts the blame on the opposition parties for the crisis, pointing out that they chose jailed individuals as candidates.

Çiçek, who also spoke about the lengthy detention periods in Turkey, said he does not differentiate between deputies and ordinary people on the issue and does not want anyone to remain in jail pending trial for a long time.

Turkey's efforts to prepare a new constitution were also among the issues Çiçek discussed. He said that given the fact that a parliamentary commission working to draft the new constitution has agreed on only 50 articles, it would not be able to complete the draft even if allowed 10 years.

Turkey's long-standing expectations for a new civilian constitution have been stronger since the 2011 parliamentary elections. All of the parties represented in Parliament vowed to draft a new constitution to replace the existing one, which was drafted under martial law after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and has long been criticized for failing to respond to today's needs for broader rights and freedoms. A commission in Parliament is currently working to draft the new constitution.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Temmuz 2013, 10:06
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