“Every attempt to undermine Parliament will receive the necessary response,” Erdoğan said during a speech he delivered at a special session held to mark National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, which also marks the inauguration of the Turkish Parliament on April 23, 1920.
“This Parliament is now a parliament that confronts coups, that question them, and that settles accounts with them,” Erdoğan said.
The prime minister referred to the ongoing investigations into two coups in recent Turkish history. A trial on the bloody Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’état has already begun at an Ankara court, with two senior leaders of the coup facing life sentences.
In another coup investigation, dozens of retired and active-duty military officers were recently arrested for their suspected role in the Feb. 28, 1997 coup in which the military forced a coalition government led by the now-defunct conservative Welfare Party (RP) to resign on the grounds that there was rising religious fundamentalism in the country.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu gave his congratulations on the 92nd National Sovereignty holiday. He said the republican regime was launched by Parliament and therefore the Turkish Parliament is a revolutionist.
He also spoke about the arrested deputies in his address to the parliament. He said the detention of the deputies is a “shame” for the democracy since they cannot carry out their duty as legislators. He said April 23 is a symbol of the courage and determination of the people to be governed by a parliament.
In his speech in Parliament, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said the creation of Parliament was the most important step and product of the Turkish people in the 20th century. He emphasized that the Turkish nation should have a new and democratic constitution by the 93rd anniversary of the Sovereignty Day next year. “The process for a new and civilian constitution is of utmost importance and it is vital for us to be concluded,” he said, adding the “historic” chance of making a more democratic constitution should not be missed because of personal and ideological rivalry.
Meanwhile pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies did not attend the special session on Monday. In the past two years, BDP Leader Selahattin Demirtaş has not take part in the special April 23 sessions but Co-chairwoman Gültan Kışanak delivered a speech in the parliament. BDP parliamentary group Deputy-Chairman Hasip Kaplan and Deputy-Chairman Pervin Buldan held a press conference regarding the issue. Kaplan said the BDP’s absence was not a protest of Parliament but rather the government, which he said, “disregards the will of sovereignty.”