Turkish parliament to be sworn in

Turkish parliament to be sworn in

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/08/04 11:10:03 GMT

Turkey is preparing to swear in a new parliament with attention
focusing on 20 pro-Kurdish deputies, represented for the first time
since 1991.
The new deputies say they want reconciliation and a peaceful solution
to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, which has claimed 30,000 lives since

The last time Kurdish MPs were elected, they incurred jail terms by
trying to take their oath of office in Kurdish.

Their party was later banned for its alleged links to the PKK rebel

The new parliament is to convene after last month’s elections saw the
Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) strengthen its
position in the house, whose first major task will be to elect a new

The AKP’s previous nomination for the post, Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul, triggered a political crisis and a warning from the military that
it was ready to intervene.

Secularists were concerned that Mr Gul began his career in the
pro-Islamic Welfare Party, and has a wife who wears the headscarf – an
extremely divisive symbol in Turkey.


Deputies will convene to swear their loyalty to a united, independent
and secular Turkish republic.

Alongside the pro-Kurdish MPs, deputies from the nationalist MHP party
will also be taking their seats.

AKP 341 seats
CHP 99 seats
MHP 70 seats
Kurdish MPs (DTP) 20 seats
Democratic Left Party 13 seats
Independents 6 seats
Total 550 seats

The MHP won 70 seats in the 22 July poll, after running a hardline
anti-Kurdish campaign, at a time when clashes between the army and the
Kurdish separatist PKK are on the rise.

Kurdish MPs from the Democratic Society Party (DTP) insist they want to
use parliament as a platform for dialogue.

The nationalists, though, say they will not talk to anyone who refuses
to condemn the PKK as terrorists.

Presidential elections

BBC’s correspondent in Turkey, Sarah rah Rainsford, says Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul has refused to rule himself out of the running
when the election process begins in ten days’ time.

A candidate needs a two-thirds majority to be elected president in the
first two rounds of voting and an absolute majority, 276, in the third

The AKP should be easily able to elect a candidate in the third round.
But it also needs a quorum of 367 MPs, a goal which eluded the party
last May and led to the early parliamentary elections.

The MHP has hinted it will not boycott the presidential poll, thus
ensuring a quorum.

The nationalists hope, however, to be able to put pressure on the
government to nominate a less controversial candidate than Mr Gul.