CHP fails to persuade MHP to stop support for reform
by Mehmed Cavid Barkçin
ISTANBULJan 19, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Mehmed Cavid Barkçin
Jan 19, 2017 12:00 am
Hours before the second session of constitutional amendment discussions at Parliament's General Assembly yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli in the latter's office in efforts to persuade Bahçeli to withdraw his support for the constitutional amendment. In spite of this, by the end of the 45-minute meeting between the two leaders, the opposition MHP announced that it would maintain its support for the amendment package and referendum. Shortly after the meeting, main opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu spoke to reporters about the discussion.
Highlighting the significant impacts the MHP has had on Turkish political history, Kılıçdaroğlu said, "Personally, I was compelled to meet with Mr. Bahçeli and he kindly accepted my request. During our discussion, I expressed my concerns regarding the constitutional amendment while thanking him for his favorable reception of my request."On the other hand, Bahçeli responded to questions from reporters with a short answer, saying that "Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu has said what needed to be said."
The unexpected meeting comes in the wake of ongoing Twitter wars between Bahçeli and Kılıçdaroğlu with the former harshly criticizing the CHP's stance on the amendment proposal as well as the party's actions in Parliament during the first session of constitutional amendment discussions in a tweet that the latter responded to on Twitter. Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated the Twitter spat after the CHP party's group meeting on Tuesday, asking party deputies if he should cancel the meeting with Bahçeli and saying that he would meet with Bahçeli regardless of the incident, saying, "If Turkey's sovereignty is at stake, everything else is just detail."
Meanwhile, the second session of discussions about the constitutional amendment began at Parliament's General Assembly by 5 p.m. on Wednesday. During the second session, discussions will focus solely on proposed changes to the articles of the constitutional amendment. Initially, each article will be voted upon independently before being brought to parliamentary vote in a bundle, where a minimum of 330 votes will be sought during both voting sessions. Failure to achieve the minimum number of votes will result in the dismissal of individual articles during the first voting session and, in the second voting session, the complete dismissal of the constitutional amendment, according to the outcome.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials expressed that the voting process for the first six articles of the amendment is expected to be completed by Wednesday's end while the entire amendment is expected to have been addressed by parliamentary vote by the end of the week. At the time of publication, the voting process was reportedly still in progress.