Actually, the story is not new.
After the transition to the multi-party era, Turkey has periodically experienced debates on who can be elected as an MP and under what conditions, or who can benefit from parliamentary immunity and how.
There were days a person elected to parliament was released from prison, another day he was sent from parliament to prison.
Let’s go back a bit…
In the general parliamentary elections held in 1946, Osman Bolukbasi was the Yozgat candidate of the Democratic Party. Bölükbaşı lost the election despite receiving 90 thousand votes. He was arrested for insulting the spiritual personality of the government and put in Sorgun Prison. He was released after two weeks. In 1949, Osman Bölükbaşı, the founder of the Millet Party, was imprisoned in Ulucanlar Prison for a while for allegedly planning to assassinate then President Ismet Inonu. He was acquitted a week later when the allegations turned out to be baseless. CHP was in power.
Bolukbasi was elected as an MP for Kırşehir from the Millet Party in 1950. He was elected again in 1954. In 1957, while the bill on the province of Kirsehir was being debated in the Parliament, his immunity was lifted on the grounds that he insulted the spiritual personality of the government in his speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and he was put on trial and put in Ulucanlar Prison. Bolukbasi spent 158 days in prison. In 1957, Osman Bölükbaşı was re-elected as an MP from Kirsehir while in prison and was released one month after the Parliament opened. Since he was in prison on the day of the election, he took his oath of office in front of the prisoners in the 10th ward of Ankara Prison. It was not over… In 1959, he received another sentence… The Democratic Party was in power…
The example of Bolukbasi is the story of a politician’s journey from Parliament to prison and from prison to Parliament, regardless of who is in power, regardless of the charges against him… Of course, it is also the story of how Parliament, politics and the judiciary are shaped and interpreted according to the period…
Then Turkey experienced other examples. Sometimes we saw politicians who went from prison to parliament, sometimes politicians who were taken from parliament to prison.
In all of them, without exception, we witnessed that the law, the constitution, the bylaws of parliament were at the center of the debate and that the articles of law were bent and twisted each time. But for some reason, we have not been able to create a situation where the will of the people can be reflected in parliament without controversy, where a power struggle between the judicial institutions and between the judiciary and other powers will not take place, at least in this regard…
Now back to today…
The debate between the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court has long ceased to be just a legal dispute between the two high courts.
The political parties are now immersed in the debate by putting themselves in the shoes of both the legislative and judicial bodies. This situation has multiple dangers. On the one hand, the perception of the state-law-politics in society is being eroded, on the other hand, the country is gradually losing its legal credibility, and then there are futile expeditions abroad for foreign investors. So, who would want to invest in a geography where politics tries to shape/shape the law according to their own preferences; where judicial bodies make decisions with “law people” clustered according to their political preferences; where law is politicized and legal texts are rendered meaningless? Let’s leave them aside, which citizen deserves such a situation?
Explanation in two different tones
When this issue came to the agenda, President Erdoğan made two statements in two different tones one after the other.
First; “Now take Can Atalay and put him aside. Unfortunately, similar things happened before this. Our parliament is also slow in these matters. In other words, many terrorists fled and went abroad because the process of lifting immunities in parliament was delayed. These should not be handled so slowly. These matters should be completed with a very quick decision.”
Then, putting both his office and his party out of the debate, he said the following: “We are the referee in the debate, not a party. We do not approach the issue sloganically. We seek solutions for the good of the country. We look at the latest issue from the perspective of what should be done, not who is right and who is wrong. The solution to this problem lies in the laws. However, our laws are also insufficient in this regard. It becomes clear that our country needs a new constitution as soon as possible.”
So what happened in the past two days to bring about this difference in tone?
Could it be that the issue has become an item of political bargaining, a move in the mind games of the balance of power in Ankara? If so, as I said above, wouldn’t the future of the country and our future be shaped once again at those bargaining tables?
CHP’s new leadership
What does the main opposition party do in the middle of all these debates?
I mean, what are they so busy with that they forgot to take a wreath to the November 10 ceremonies in Istanbul?
It seems that the Ozel-Imamoğlu duo were calculating who would be in the Central Executive Board and who would be the deputy chairman. As a matter of fact, after a meeting with the Party Assembly, Party Chairman Ozel announced the new executives and said:
“We will exhibit an opposition approach that not only reacts, but also leads, contributes, is effective and is a candidate for power. As the first political party to announce a ‘Shadow Cabinet’ minister for each ministry, I would like you to note today’s date.”
If you ask what the “Minister of Justice”, one of the shadow ministers, says about what happened, he has not said anything yet. We will see if he will.
The issue is so vital that it should not be relegated to the ordinary debates of daily politics, and how sensitive one is on this issue will determine where the party will evolve.
And could you imagine that Kilicdaroglu would form a shadow cabinet too and continue his work from where he left off…