Members of the new Parliament attended an oath-taking ceremony that was marred by a boycott by the pro-Kurdish bloc and the CHP early this week in protest of the disqualification of their deputies by courts and the Supreme Election Board (YSK).
Some 30 independent deputies, backed by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), did not attend the ceremony to protest a YSK decision to strip an elected politician, Hatip Dicle, of his parliamentary status due to a past conviction for spreading terrorist propaganda and subsequent court rulings against the release of Dicle and five other deputies who are jailed suspects in a separate terror-related case.
Members of the CHP, whose two deputies Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal are behind bars as suspects in the Ergenekon case, did come to Parliament but refused to stand up and walk to the rostrum to take their oaths.
The CHP has drawn widespread criticism from society for taking the same side as the BDP in boycotting Parliament. Although one jailed Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, Engin Alan, was also not released from jail after his election, the MHP attended the ceremony and took the oath.
As criticism mounted against the CHP's boycott, the CHP administration gave up their demand for a clear step to be taken by the government for the solution of the crisis, reliable sources told Today's Zaman on condition of anonymity.
They also said a visit paid to the CHP by Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek on Wednesday to discuss the election of the new Parliament speaker, in which the situation of the jailed deputies was briefly touched upon, is now seen as sufficient for the CHP to return to Parliament and take the oath. On Tuesday, it was CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who received Çiçek, while Çiçek was received by a deputy group chairman at the MHP. Kılıçdaroğlu's meeting with Çiçek is seen as a sign of his regret over the boycott of Parliament.
During this meeting, Çiçek told Kılıçdaroğlu: “If there is a problem in question, politics has to produce a solution for it. Let's come and solve the problem in Parliament. You bring your proposal, let's debate it in Parliament and find a common path,” which boosted hopes for a solution in the ranks of the CHP.
The prospects of Parliament's recessing without the CHP deputies' taking the parliamentary oath leads to a potential nightmare for the CHP because it will receive heavy criticism until Oct. 1 (when Parliament re-opens) for having deputies who receive salary without taking the parliamentary oath and being on the same side as the BDP.
The CHP party administration has also begun to draw criticism from within the ranks of the party for the boycott with the party's former leader Deniz Baykal directing criticism at the party administration for involving the party for the first time in such a boycott.