In what could be seen as a signal that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) may also boycott Parliament, just like 30 independent deputies have already decided to do, CHP Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin said on Friday that they would consider all options if the appeals filed against a Thursday ruling that barred two jailed CHP deputies from entering Parliament are rejected.
The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which is hearing the case against Ergenekon, announced its decision on two CHP deputies, journalist Mustafa Balbay and Professor Mehmet Haberal, on Thursday and in a majority vote ruled against their release although they were elected as deputies. They are currently standing trial as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network accused of working to overthrow the government. Dozens of its suspected members are currently in jail, accused of terrorism-related charges.
Following CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's harsh reaction to the court ruling on Thursday night, Tekin commented on the issue on Friday and recalled that the lawyers of the deputies appealed the decision. Noting that they don't want to even think about the rejection of the appeals, he said if this happens they would “try all options,” which implies that the party may also boycott Parliament, a method of protest recently adopted by the country's pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) following a decision by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to strip a BDP-supported deputy of his right to assume his post due to a terrorism-related conviction.
However, Tekin did not want to make any comparisons to BDP and said the two parties differ in their political lines. “But, we will certainly stand by our friends,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday held a meeting with Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials who had a legal background to evaluate recent developments concerning the elected deputies being barred from entering Parliament.