President Abdullah Gül early on Thursday received main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at the Çankaya presidential palace for talks in the hope of finding ways to solve the latest crisis in Parliament, which has marred the beginning of the ruling party's third term.
President Gül invited Turkey's main opposition party and pro-Kurdish independent deputies late on Wednesday to discuss possible solutions to the latest crisis. Kılıçdaroğlu and Gül met at 11 a.m. at the Çankaya presidential palace in Ankara on Thursday. The CHP said on Tuesday, right before the oath-taking ceremony, that it would not take part in the ceremony in protest of the imprisonment of two CHP deputies on charges of being part of coup plots. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kılıçdaroğlu said the president expressed unease with the long periods of detention for individuals on trial in the country.
“He said he also voiced his concerns about this issue before. He said he would contribute to a solution to the issue and that he would take my opinions into consideration,” the CHP leader said. Kılıçdaroğlu left the Çankaya presidential palace to catch his flight to Athens, where he will be attending a summit of the Socialist International, without responding to questions from reporters. Pro-Kurdish independent deputies who were endorsed by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also announced last week that they would boycott Parliament to protest six of their jailed deputies being prevented from taking their seats in the legislative body. Gül will also meet with Mardin independent deputy Ahmet Türk and Diyarbakır independent deputy Şerafettin Elçi on Friday at 11:30 a.m.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had talks with Gül in Ankara during a meeting in which he also received a mandate from the president to form the new government as the chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which secured 50 percent of the national vote in the June 12 elections.
Gül also invited Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for talks, but the MHP leader immediately refused to meet, citing a “busy schedule.” Observers say Bahçeli is angry with the president because of his delayed reaction to a sex tape scandal that rocked the MHP before the June 12 vote and prompted the resignation of 10 senior MHP officials. In a related development, CHP spokeswoman Bihlun Tamaylıgil released a brief statement about the CHP Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting held under Kılıçdaroğlu’s chairmanship on Wednesday evening. Tamaylıgil said the attendees had evaluated a number of issues, including the situation of the deputies who weren’t released to take their oaths.
The statement said the date of the CHP’s next planned Party Council meeting, initially scheduled for July 4, had been changed to July 9.