Following Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) boycott against the oath-taking ceremony of the first directly-elected President Erdoğan on Thursday in Ankara, Turkish unions evaluated the boycott and condemned the CHP Deputy Engin Altay who threw a copy of council bylaw over the lecturn before foreign dignitaries who attended Erdoğan's inauguration ceremony. Dozens of unions issued a joint declaration to officially condemn the CHP.
Dozens of union representatives issued a joint declaration regarding the CHP boycott saying, "We condemn CHP Group Deputy Chairman Altay's protest in which he threw the Constitution and a copy of the bylaws."
NGOs, including Civil Servant Unions Confederation head Ahmet Gündoğdu, Turkish Trade Unions Confederation (Türk-İş) head Ergün Atalay, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange (TOBB) President M. Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Turkish Real Trade Unions Confederation (HAK-İş) head Mahmut Arslan, Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) head Bendevi Palandöken, Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK) Chairman Yağız Eyüboğlu, spoke to the Anadolu Agency during the oath-taking ceremony and evaluated the protests.
CHP deputies began to protest against the inauguration in front of guests, from home and abroad, by banging their fists on their tables in Parliament. However, Parliament Spokesman Cemil Çiçek said that he would not allow such protests to interrupt proceedings.
Later on, Altay threw a copy of the council bylaws, and CHP deputies walked out in protest just before Erdoğan took the oath in Parliament. CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had earlier expressed his intention to not attend receptions and invitations held by President Erdoğan, while CHP deputies walked out in protest. Despite the CHP protest, other opposition parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party(HDP) attended the ceremony.
Slamming the CHP protests, AK Party Istanbul deputy and Parliament Justice Commission member Bülent Turan described the CHP deputies' reaction in front of foreign diplomats and representatives as a "disgrace." Turan said that what the CHP deputies did in Parliament was "not a democratic reaction at all."
Meanwhile, the CHP decided to hold an extraordinary congress on Sept. 5-6 due to pressure from hardline Kemalist deputies led by former Deputy Chairman Muharrem İnce. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is likely to maintain his position with support from the majority of party delegates and provincial heads, continues to play his cards against the party's ideological principles by leaning toward right-wing figures.
In recent days Kılıçdaroğlu met with politician Mehmet Bekaroğlu, who is a member of the Islamic rooted Felicity Party (SP) and is known for his thoughts against the free-market economic system.
According to sources within the CHP, Kılıçdaroğlu proposed a membership for him on the CHP's executive board in the meeting. Though Bekaroğlu confirmed the claims, he said: "In order to accept this offer, I should first decide to return to politics. Since I am hesitant on this issue, I neither rejected nor approved the offer." This meeting and Kılıçdaroğlu's new attempts to attract right-wing votes spurred new discussions within the party.
Regarding the issue, CHP Antalya deputy Arif Bulut heavily criticized Kılıçdaroğlu's strategy for the party and said: "It was already tried and understood that it failed […] Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu is quite steady in his own perspective. He continues what he has always been doing since the beginning. Here, what we are against is this mentality because this is not working for the advancement of the CHP," adding that whoever wants to be involved with politics in the CHP may join it on the condition of being in line with the party's tenets. "There are some who say, 'I am a deputy from the CHP but not following its political line exactly.' That is what we call inaccurate," he said.