European Commission following parliamentary boycott ‘with concern’



Stefan Füle, EU commissioner for enlargement
In comments on an ongoing crisis in Turkish Parliament following two opposition parties’ refusal to take their parliamentary oath, the European Commission said the commission is following the situation closely and with concern.
A statement released by the office of Stefan Füle, EU commissioner for enlargement, said Turkey will have to deal in the near future with important challenges, which will require the inclusion of all democratic forces. “All sides must contribute to guaranteeing its integrity and its good functioning, and we trust that all involved are committed to working towards addressing the issues and moving forward,” the statement said.
The statement also underscored that the current confusion has its origins in the fact that people are being kept in detention for excessive periods of time pending trial or are convicted for things they have said while giving speeches. “These are flaws which we have consistently highlighted in our progress reports, and which undermine fundamental rights such as freedom of expression or the right to effective judicial guarantees. We hope the next government will address these concerns through amending the legal framework,” the statement said.

Last week, members of the new Parliament attended an oath-taking ceremony that was marred by a boycott by the pro-Kurdish bloc and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in protest of the disqualification of their deputies by courts and the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

Some 30 independent deputies backed by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) did not attend the ceremony to protest a YSK decision to strip an elected politician, Hatip Dicle, of his parliamentary status due to a past conviction for spreading terrorist propaganda and in protest of subsequent court rulings against the release of Dicle and five other deputies who are jailed suspects in a separate terror-related case.

Members of the CHP, whose two deputies are behind bars as suspects in the Ergenekon case, did come to Parliament, but they refused to stand up and walk to the rostrum to take their oaths. “We will not take the oath unless the way is open for all our deputies to take the oath,” CHP leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu said less than an hour before Parliament convened for the ceremony.

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