Syrian crisis discussion provokes tension in Parliament

Deputies from the main opposition Republican People's Party and the ruling Justice and Development Party engaged in a brawl in Parliament late on Wednesday. (Photo: AA, Rıza Özel)

March 06, 2013, Wednesday/ 23:17:00

A tense situation developed during a session in the Turkish Parliament after a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) started to argue with a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) late on Wednesday over Turkey's policies concerning the long-standing Syrian conflict.

CHP Adana deputy Ümit Özgümüş, who delivered a speech about Turkey's energy policies, began to touch upon the recent situation in Syria and slammed the government's policies regarding the festering conflict in the neighboring country. Özgümüş dismissed reports that the Syrian regime is responsible for the killing of its own people. Recalling the 2003 Iraq War, he said, "As the claims about weapons of mass destruction proved to be a lie in Iraq, the same goes today for the [Syrian] regime's slaughter of the Syrian people."

He said Turkey is acting in Syria with a strategy based on lies, adding that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's predictions about the exit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proved to be wrong.

When Özgümüş described the regime's handling of the two-year-old uprising as organized resistance to imperialism, AK Party deputy Mehmet Metiner reacted, saying that Özgümüş cannot back the Syrian regime, which is brutally murdering its own people.

Özgümüş told Metiner not to babble and invited him to the platform. The two deputies became involved in a battle of words, but the other deputies present prevented the tension from escalating.

The fight occurred while the deputies were discussing the ongoing civil war in Syria, which can be considered an indicator of the stark differences between the government and the main opposition party over how to handle the crisis.