Friday, January 25, 2008

A Decision for Parliament

At a public meeting of his party, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli criticized Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya for his comments last Thursday and declared that the headscarf issue is a matter for Parliament to decide and not the judiciary. The criticism is significant in that it asserts that AKP and MHP are acting together in moving forward with the headscarf issue and, in so doing, challenging Turkey's secular establishment. CHP leader Deniz Baykal has expressed disgust at the agreement between the two parties, but is in a more difficult position to criticize AKP since it is moving forward with MHP's backing.

Bahçeli's speech is quoted in Wednesday's Today's Zaman:
The sphere of the legislative, executive and judicial bodies is clearly defined in the Constitution. So are the principles and rules to be complied with by political parties. Everyone should obey the related articles of the Constitution in their acts. Policies of conflict, which benefit from debates over national and spiritual values, disrupt social peace and weaken our ability to solve problems. The MHP is ready and determined to stand behind the principles of foundation of the Turkish Republic, its political structure and the Turkish nation’s national and spiritual values.
On Monday, AKP parliament speaker Köksal Toptan had joined the fray. He is second-in-command of the governmnet behind Erdoğan and reiterated that power to make law regarding the headscarf issue rested with Parliament and not the judiciary. He was also criticial of statements made last week by Yalçınkaya and the Council of State.

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