Ambiguous expressions in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between Turkey and Iran in public administration have met with harsh reactions from opposition parties in Turkey.
Stating that the MoU signed with Iran in 2011 -- which has been discussed in the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission and submitted to Parliament for ratification -- does not comply with international practices, Republican People's Party (CHP) Mersin deputy Aytuğ Atıcı, who is a member of the commission, said: “The ambiguous expressions in the MoU signed with Iran are not only innocent typing mistakes. The text is a product of a deliberate act, and it does not fit well with practices in international relationships.”
Atıcı, who expressed his dissent in the commission's report on the MoU, noted that Article 6 of the MoU -- “This MoU may be amended in writing and by mutual agreement of the parties” -- could cause serious results. “Parliament cannot give unlimited authority to the executive branch. With these kinds of ambiguous expressions, the executive branch could exceed its authority. The relevant senior administrators might take advantage and make internationally binding decisions without informing Parliament. In such a case, these decisions would cause irreversible results.” he said.
Claiming that this article allows the governments to amend the MoU without notifying their parliaments, Atıcı added: “We are not against cooperation with neighboring countries; we are against the language that was used in the MoU. This is a deliberate act. Our neighbor Iran is famous for its clever political strategies. In some cases, it would take months to ascertain the real purpose behind Iran's decisions. We have to favor the interests of our country when signing agreements with other countries.”
Atıcı also expressed these concerns about Article 3 -- “The parties may cooperate on other areas that both parties agree on” -- and noted that the use of “other areas” causes ambiguity.
“There should not be any ambiguities in international agreements [or] MoUs. Sentences that could be interpreted in different ways are not and should not be included in an agreement. Since foreign policy is an area that constantly changes, our dealings with a country that we currently have very good relations with could become tense in the future. Thus, international agreements should be written in very clear language that takes into account the continuity of the state.”