Main opposition CHP leader says he will be in parliament for centennial

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he will be at the Turkish Parliament on April 23 to celebrate its 100th year.

“The ceremonies for April 23 should be held worthily of the parliament’s history and all the leaders should be under that roof on that day. I will be in parliament [on April 23]. If the other leaders don’t come, it’s their problem,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Cumhuriyet.

On April 20, CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak said the parliament speaker had informed that the president will not attend the special session, which will be held at the General Assembly on April 23. He criticized the decision, saying parliament should convene on its 100th anniversary, abiding by social distancing rules.

On the morning of April 23, ahead of the special session of parliament, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, top government officials, and politicians will attend a ceremony held at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

The special session will begin with Şentop’s inaugural speech.

In the special session, leading lawmakers from all the political parties represented in parliament will address the General Assembly.

Erdoğan will follow the session from his current residence at Huber Mansion in Istanbul.

Parliament had delayed a number of centennial events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

April 23, the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, is a public holiday in Turkey and marks the foundation of the Turkish Parliament.

Every year, the country celebrates the parliament’s establishment, as it was bestowed by Atatürk.

The CHP leader also criticized the government for its bans on opposition-run municipalities’ donation campaigns and services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kılıçdaroğlu said helping citizens amid the pandemic should not be described as serving like the “parallel state structure,” referring to remarks made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has likened the CHP’s help to cash-strapped citizens to forming and carrying out the activities of a “parallel state.”

“How can our municipalities have infiltrated [the state] by distributing bread or food aid or establishing a makeshift hospital,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The issue of municipalities launching donation campaigns and delivering aid to residents has been on the country’s agenda since the outbreak emerged in Turkey, with the government accusing opposition-run municipalities of conducting work separately from the government and halting all their aid operations.

The Interior Ministry has launched investigations against Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, both from the CHP, for launching donation campaigns for citizens grappling with financial difficulties.

Similarly, the CHP-run metropolitan municipality of the southern province of Mersin recently announced that its distribution of free bread has been banned.

A makeshift hospital built by the CHP-run Adana Metropolitan Municipality, a province neighboring Mersin, has also been sealed by the provincial health directorate.

Hurriyet Daily News

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