Lawmakers from Turkey’s main opposition CHP (Republican People’s Party) is protesting the bill proposed by ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) on making changes in the by-laws of the Grand National Assembly.
As the 14th article of the revised bylaws was approved in the Parliament on Wednesday (July 26), main opposition MPs decided to not leave the room in the Parliament where the general sessions are held.
Speaking on behalf of his party members, parliamentary group leader Özgür Özel repeated their objection to the articles in the new bylaws which lower the time allocated for opposition members to speak from 10 to 3 minutes and said they will hold a peaceful demonstration against it by staying in the room and ‘practicing their right to speak as representatives of their constituents’.
Though Speaker Ahmet Aydın warned the MPs by saying ‘this is not the streets; this is the parliament’ and tried to convince them to not hold the demonstration and leave the room, CHP MPs stayed in the room and set up a sound system in the room after all other lawmakers, from AKP, MHP, and HDP, left.
Before leaving, HDP’s parliamentary group leader Filiz Kerestecioğlu said her party is in support of the objections of CHP and said, “To protest is also a right and we hope the day when AKP understands this will also come”.
While the CHP MPs gave speeches using the speakers they set up, the police forced the journalists to leave the room. MPs’ demonstration against the bylaws revisions, which they deem as the latest effort of the ruling party to silence the opposition, lasted for hours.
The revisions on bylaws also include restrictions on lawmakers' freedom of expression as certain words and phrases, such as Kurdistan, Armenian Genocide, and Kurdish cities, can now be deemed as 'insults to the nation's common history' and lead MPs using such expression to get punished over it.
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