Parliament speaker, deputy PM signal legal solution to Kurdish deputy



Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali ?ahin
Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali ?ahin and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar?nç on Thursday signaled that a legal solution can be developed for a Kurdish deputy who was recently disbarred by the country’s election body, calling on the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to contribute to that solution in Parliament.
The Supreme Election Board (YSK) voted unanimously on Tuesday night to strip Hatip Dicle, who was elected to Parliament as an independent candidate on June 12, of his deputyship over his earlier terrorism-related conviction. Dicle was endorsed by the BDP from Diyarbak?r, a predominantly Kurdish province in the Southeast, after the pro-Kurdish party decided to enter the June 12 general elections with independent candidates, fearing that it would fail to exceed the 10 percent election threshold if it entered the elections as a party.
Commenting on the YSK decision, Ar?nç recalled the 2002 solution developed for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. “We would support any justified demand as we did in 2002,” he told reporters. In 1999, Erdo?an served four months in jail after he was convicted of Islamist sedition for reading a poem at a political rally in Siirt. In 2002 he was barred from participating in the elections because of this conviction. However, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) pushed through a constitutional amendment that allowed Erdo?an to win a vacant seat in Siirt in a by-election, after which he was appointed prime minister by then President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

However, Ar?nç called on 35 BDP deputies, who are currently mulling over boycotting Parliament, to remain distant from violence and to come to Parliament. “If you preferred politics you will distant yourself from violence. A deputy does not stay in the street but uses the parliamentary lectern,” he said.

A similar reaction came from ?ahin, who also called on the BDP deputies to seek a solution to the issue in Parliament. “The YSK announced its decision. If there are problems, they should be addressed in Parliament. [A] solution should be sought here. Seeking the solution somewhere else brings no solution,” he told reporters on Thursday.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also announced on Wednesday that it would support a legal solution to the issue. CHP Secretary-General Bihlun Tamayl?gil said her party finds it incorrect for a deputy to be stripped of his status after winning his mandate, and also suggested the legal solution that helped the current Turkish prime minister get into Parliament back in 2002.

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