Turkish PM disagrees with president over jailed deputies

President Abdullah Gül voiced discontent over the absence of nine deputies currently in prison on various charges in Parliament during his speech marking the opening of a new legislative year.

Turkish PM disagrees with president over jailed deputies

World Bulletin / News Desk

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that he disagrees with President Abdullah Gül, who voiced discontent over the absence of nine deputies currently in prison on various charges in Parliament during his speech marking the opening of a new legislative year.

“I do not want to get involved in a polemic with the esteemed president. But I disagree with him,” Erdoğan told reporters minutes after Gül's speech in Parliament.

Gül recalled in his opening remarks that in his speech last year he emphasized that this Parliament represents a full range of views and that this was the reason behind its strength. “As a flaw in this picture, I would like to point to the absence this legislative year of some parliamentarians who have been elected to this legislative assembly,” Gül said. “It is my belief that everyone who has legally participated in the country's elections, been voted for by the people and won the right to carry the title of a member of parliament, should be a part of the legislative activities of this assembly until a final judgment has been passed,” he added.

Gül drew strong applause from opposition desks for his remarks. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu later said he "congratulates" Gül for his special emphasis on the jailed deputies.

Turkey has nine deputies in jail, two from the 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 militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). All nine deputies were elected to Parliament during last year's general elections, and their nominations to run for Parliament led to widespread controversy as they were already in jail. MHP deputy Engin Alan has been recently convicted of coup charges.

Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) puts the blame on the opposition parties for the crisis, pointing out that they chose the deputies as candidates although they were jailed.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ekim 2012, 12:11
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