Ceren Bayar / Gazete Duvar
The 27th legislative term of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23 ended with the last meeting held before the May 14 parliamentary and presidential elections. April 23 is also the National Sovereignty and Children's Day in Turkey, commemorating the foundation of the Parliament on April 23, 1920.
In the last meeting of the General Assembly, the Parliament commemorated the deputies Deniz Baykal, Yakup Taş, İsmet Uçma, İmran Kılıç, Markar Eseyan, Kazım Arslan and Erdin Bircan who lost their lives during the term. Many deputies who have not been nominated for the next term did not attend the session. 328 deputies (out of 600) who have not been nominated again under any party lists.
Among the party leaders, only main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair and presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and government ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chair Devlet Bahçeli attended the meeting.
Kılıçdaroğlu, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and former PM and AKP deputy chair Binali Yıldırım made their last speeches as MPs.
The AKP did not nominate Şentop and Yıldırım because of the three-term limitation rule for its deputies.
In his speech, Şentop said it was one of the greatest joys of his life to be the speaker of the Parliament.
Binali Yıldırım, on the other hand, ended his speech by opening the Turkish Flag and reciting the lines of the National Anthem. Yıldırım reciting one of the lines of the anthem wrongly despite reading it has stirred a huge reaction on social media.
After Yıldırım, the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu took the stage and said they will transform Turkey into a strengthened parliamentary system under his presidency.
Kılıçdaroğlu said a period will start, in which lost billion dollars will be held accountable, farmers and workers will get their rights, femicides will come to an end, all terrorist organizations and underground criminal organizations will be eradicated, poverty and corruption will end, even the president can be freely criticized, peace academics will return to their posts, and merit will prevail.
“As of May 14, Turkey will regain its joy of living. Turkey will have its spring," he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) group, its parliamentary group deputy chair Saruhan Oluç said a new era will begin in which crises will be overcome in Turkey on the morning of May 15, one day after the election.
The HDP has nominated its candidates under the Green Left Party (YSP) list for the upcoming elections as the HDP faces the risk of closure.
Far-right MHP group deputy chair Erkan Akçay deemed the 72-year period with the parliamentary system in Turkey "a period of political instability," adding that "Turkey has completed its political stability with the presidential system." Akçay argued that the desire to return to the parliamentary system is "a foolishness that does not learn from past experiences."
Opposition nationalist Good (İYİ) Party group deputy chair Müsavat Dervişoğlu criticized the presidential system and said “This monstrous one-man rule, in which the future of Turkey is stuck between the lips of a single person, and where all will and administration is left to the mind, wishes and whims of one person, can never survive in this country. The one-man regime and the presidential system is doomed and compelled to change.”
In the meeting, the leaders of political parties who do not have a group in the parliament, Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) leader Erkan Baş and Democrat Party leader Gültekin Uysal also took the stage.
After the quarrel between the AKP and CHP deputies, Şentop closed the session by saying "You will continue in the 28th term."
The next term of the Parliament will begin three days after the Supreme Election Council (YSK) announces the final results of the May 14 election.
(English version by Alperen Şen)