Turkish lawmakers brawl in parliament during budget discussions

A brawl has erupted in the Turkish parliament after the main opposition CHP's criticism of the ruling AKP for privatizing the Tank and Pallet Factory. As the tension grew, a recess was given but the lawmakers continued their quarrel.

Duvar English

Lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Dec. 11 brawled in the parliament during a debate over the privatization of the Tank and Pallet Factory.

As the tension grew, Parliament Deputy Speaker Süreyya Sadi Bilgiç called a recess and halted the debate.

CHP deputy Süleyman Bülbül's speech triggered the initial tension at the parliament. “The most important event that shows the AKP being so far away from being local and national is this: They [AKP] have let the Qataris take advantage of the Tank and Pallet Factory, which was founded by the donations that this nation pinched and scraped,” Bülbül told the parliament.

Bülbül went onto say that the AKP had accelerated the privatization process in the country and added: “What you call privatization is haram [ill-gotten gains], theft and stealing from the rights of the people and making the benefits available to the proponents.” Bülbül's speech was many times interrupted by the AKP deputies.

After Bülbül, AKP deputy Bülent Turan took the stage, saying that the CHP deputy's statements were “funny.” Looking at where the AKP deputies were sitting, Turan vowed to “bring the CHP to account.” Upon his statement of “Whoever is scared of you [referring to the CHP] is a coward,” the AKP and CHP deputies advanced towards each other, leading to a recess in the parliament.

During the discussions, one of the AKP deputies allegedly told the CHP deputies “You are hee-hawing like a donkey,” which sparked the tension even further.

The Tank and Pallet Factory, located in the country's northwestern province of Sakarya, was founded in 1975. A decree issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who also chairs the AKP, on Dec. 20, 2018 turned over the rights to operate the factory for a 25-year period to the Turkish-Qatari vehicle manufacturer BMC.

BMC’s Turkish partner, Ethem Sancak, is said to have close ties to Erdoğan.