BDP fails to attend meeting of constitutional commission
A meeting of the parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission was cancelled on Tuesday when commission members from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) failed to attend.

Ahmet İyimaya of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), head of the commission, told Today's Zaman that the meeting had to be postponed when the BDP did not show up. However, İyimaya commented, "As they declared an excuse, we think they will attend the following meeting of the subcommission."

The BDP earlier declared that it would not participate in the activities of parliamentary commissions in deference to the hunger strike being staged by some members of the BDP. Inmates in Turkey's prisons, including some convicted of or on trial for charges of membership in the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) or its mother organization, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), have been engaged in a collective hunger strike, some for more than 60 days. Protestors are demanding improvement in the prison conditions of the PKK's jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence at an island prison, as well as the right to education in one's mother tongue and to address courts of law in Kurdish. Five BDP deputies have joined the hunger strike in recent days.

Members from the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were present to kick off activities of the commission on Tuesday, but given the absence of the BDP members the commission was unable to convene.

If delegates from a party fail to attend meetings of the commission three times without providing an adequate excuse, membership status of the party will be forfeited. The BDP's present attitude, which is expected to be evaluated at the Friday meeting of the commission, may be an indication that the party will not participate in the activities of parliamentary commissions in the future.

BDP deputies submitted a petition to the Reconciliation Commission reading: "Due to stated reasons, we will not attend meetings of the commission until Nov. 19." BDP member Altan Tan said the delegate refused to participate in the meeting in support of deputies on hunger strike, adding, "We will join meetings to be held next week."

When asked whether the BDP would participate in meetings if the hunger strike were to continue, Tan replied: "We don't know. That, the prime minister should think about."

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-14 20:00:01
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