Deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have rejoiced over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vetoing a bill which they themselves approved in parliament in November.
The AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik announced on Dec. 2 that President Erdoğan, who also chairs the AKP, vetoed a bill postponing the installation of filters to thermal power plants for another two-and-a-half years.
The bill was passed in parliament on Nov. 21 by votes of the ruling AKP and MHP, sparking reactions from opposition parties and environmentalist groups. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel said at the time that they would take this issue to the Constitutional Court due to the harm caused to public health and environment.
The bill allowed thermal power plants in the country to operate without having a desulphurization system or modernized dust filters until the end of 2021.
On Dec. 2, Çelik said this is the first time Erdoğan vetoed a bill, and it was due to an “environmental sensitivity.” “According to the 50th article of the omnibus bill that was passed in parliament on Nov. 21, the requirement of installing filters to 15 thermal power plants was postponed two-and-a-half years; the regulation was awaiting for our President’s approval. The President did not find this regulation right,” he said.
Following Çelik’s statements, a number of AKP deputies thanked Erdoğan on social media.
AKP Vice Chair Mahir Ünal, representing the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş,” said Erdoğan had placed people’s health first, adding: “I offer my gratitude to our President on behalf of all people of Kahramanmaraş.”
AKP deputies Ahmet Özdemir and Mehmet Cihat Sezal, both again representing Kahramanmaraş, also offered their gratitude Erdoğan on Twitter.
The Elbistan district of Kahramanmaraş is home to the Afşin-Elbistan power plant.
MHP Vice Chair also thanked Erdoğan on Twitter, saying: “With the understanding that ‘Environmentalism is Nationalism’ which has turned into a slogan by the MHP, our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vetoed the decision postponing the installation of filters to 15 thermal power plants.”
Meanwhile, CHP deputy İlhan Cihaner wrote on Twitter: “In this case, the bill that was enacted by AKP Chair Erdoğan, has been vetoed by President Erdoğan!”