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April 28, 2007, Saturday

ANAVATAN, DYP take CHP bait, fail the democracy test

Yesterday Turkey witnessed a presidential election marked by totally strange practices and claims never before seen in the history of the Turkish Republic.
The only candidate, Abdullah Gül, was unable to garner the required 367 votes, receiving only 357. However, the first round of the election, which failed to produce a result, ended up a litmus test which showed that some share the people’s democratic expectations while others are still under the influence of the anti-democratic political atmosphere created by the post-modern coup of Feb. 28 and are still driven by that cursed political spirit.

What the people naturally expected from this election was the election of the president in compliance with previously defined procedures that have become established practice over time. The opposition parties turned a blind eye to this expectation. Falling into the trap of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) turned their backs on the parliamentary responsibility delegated to them by the people. They proved they were so-called democrats with their fickle attitudes by trying to benefit from a crisis. At this point, I deem it a duty to applaud the ANAVATAN and DYP deputies who participated in the vote in spite of their parties.

The fact that the CHP boycotted the voting and appealed to the Constitutional Court, demanding that the first round of the vote be cancelled on the (groundless) claim that the minimum number of deputies in the General Assembly hall for a presidential voting session to be started is 367 has once again revealed how weak their faith is in Parliament -- the only place where the public will becomes manifest.

The CHP, which pushed aside the legislation, supervisory authority and responsibility of the Turkish Parliament, and above all pushed aside the Parliament’s responsibility and duty to elect a president, has distanced itself so far from the nation’s will that it preferred a judicial decision over one to be made by the national will. The CHP has suffered a deep wound and a black stain in the democracy test.

The Constitutional Court is supposed to immediately and within legal principles reject this complaint, which cannot be justified by the Constitution or the parliamentary bylaws. A contrary decision would mean that the Constitutional Court, made up of 11 members, seven of whom were appointed by the current President Sezer, had reached its decision on political grounds, not on legal principle.

In the event the Constitutional Court accepts the CHP’s appeal and finds it worthy of deliberation, it will have been proven that law in Turkey has been politicized. Such a decision, which will also make early general elections obligatory, will cause Turkey to suffer from serious chaos in the short run. And in the long run, since it will turn the fallacy of 367 into a precedent and a paradigm that has to be followed, it will make Turkey adopt a strange system in which Turkey will not be able to elect a president. Even if it ever can, it will have to agree on a weak and low-profile figure. I hope, unlike the political parties that have failed the democracy test, the Constitutional Court can pass the legal examination.

It seems that yesterday’s elections, during which we witnessed serious debates on how many deputies there actually were in the hall who participated in the first round, will be our sole subject of discussion in the coming days. The CHP’s preference to object with only one deputy instead of 20, which is clearly stated in the bylaws as the required number, and the facts that everyone who entered the hall during the election was counted and that the number of deputies present was recorded as 369 will spark another debate.

We will be witnessing the negative reflections of the CHP, DYP and ANAVATAN’s attitudes based on double standards, attitudes they adopted with the intention of acting in a man-centered, not a democracy-centered, manner at the cost of damaging the sense of fairness and justice. And these parties in question will be exposed to the most negative consequences of their stances. The people will sooner or later give ANAVATAN and the DYP the response they deserve for having distanced themselves from the tradition of democracy and attempting to back the CHP’s anti-democratic deceptions.

The only result we had in yesterday’s voting is the fact that the anti-democratic remnants and rubble of the nightmarish Feb. 28 process have still not been completely cleared out. Therefore, we need another democratic reaction that will emerge from the voting box in the coming general elections and that will produce a shocking effect. I can say this much: The people, who have had enough of the political deception and maneuvering of the CHP and other parties, will not be stingy in making them suffer this shock. The DYP and ANAVATAN leaders will most likely be able to appreciate only then how they finished themselves off.

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