A new Turkish parliament dominated by the Islamic-oriented party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been sworn in, preparing the way for a new government that was reminded in the opening speech to safeguard the nation's secular principles.
At the start of Saturday's ceremony, interim Speaker of Parliament Sukru Elekdag of the main opposition Republican People's Party said Erdogan -- expected to head the new government -- should act with common sense to prevent polarization in politics.
"Pursuing a policy to protect secular and democratic values would help the country attain its goal of achieving the contemporary level of civilization," Elekdag said.
The opposition party and the country's fiercely secular military have stressed that the next president, who will be elected by parliament within a month, must sincerely uphold secularity.
Erdogan's Justice and Development Party will have 341 seats in the 550-member legislature -- 10 seats down from its position in the outgoing parliament -- but still firmly in control of a majority. In the two decades before Erdogan's first majority government in 2002, Turkey had been led by coalitions that often failed to pass legislation. Political infighting had led to instability that deterred foreign investors.
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer was expected to ask Erdogan today to form the next government, the Anatolia news agency said on Saturday.
The main opposition Republican People's Party will have 99 seats. The far right Nationalist Action Party returned to the Parliament with 70 seats, after a five-year absence. The center-left Democratic Left Party has 13 seats.
A revived Kurdish party -- the Democratic Society Party -- will hold 21 seats. For many Kurds, the party's revival stokes hopes for a new era in their struggle for more rights. But many Turks are afraid of a party suspected of being under the influence of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, an organization labeled as terrorist by the US and the EU and which has fought to carve out a separate Kurdish state.
It is the first time the group is represented in the legislature since its ouster in 1994 over alleged ties to separatist Kurds.
The party officials promised not to stir up trouble during the swearing-in ceremony on Saturday as their predecessors did. But a leader of the Kurdish party, lawmaker Ahmet Turk, in an interview with private NTV television refused to declare the PKK a terrorist organization, claiming that it would be against his role in seeking peace.
All other parties in parliament have refused to cooperate with the Kurdish lawmakers unless they denounce the PKK as a terrorist group.
Once the new government is formed, parliament must choose a new president.
The Nationalist Action party has already pledged to help the government achieve the quorum needed to elect a president.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year