Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and an ally of the ruling party, gave a fiery response on Tuesday to a speech delivered in the Kurdish language by Tuncer Bakırhan, Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party co-chair, during the first day of budget talks in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly. Bahçeli attributed the incident to what he called the Constitutional Court’s biased attitude towards opposition parties.
Tension arose when Bakırhan began to present his parliamentary speech in Kurdish, prompting the speaker of the Grand National Assembly, Numan Kurtulmuş, to interrupt and demand translation into Turkish. “We would like you to explain what you said in Turkish. This is the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and as our official language is Turkish, Turkish will be spoken here,” Kurtulmuş said. Bakırhan then read out the Turkish translation of his original Kurdish greeting.
Speaking to the media after the incident, Bahçeli said: “You can see that this is becoming more and more widespread and many groups are being pampered because of the attitude of the Constitutional Court. In such an environment, this speech was not acceptable in our opinion.”
Bahçeli went on to criticise the speaker’s request for translation, comparing it to what he said was the wrong approach of the president of the Constitutional Court. “This is as wrong as the president of the Constitutional Court. This cannot happen,” he stressed.
The MHP leader had previously criticised the Constitutional Court on several occasions for its rulings on rights violations. “Wherever there is a criminal, wherever there is a traitor who spews hatred against Turkey, who betrays Turkey, who points a gun at Turkey, who aims to disrupt national security, national unity and the spirit of brotherhood, the Constitutional Court rewards him with a decision of violation of rights,” Bahçeli declared, suggesting that the dissolution of the Constitutional Court should be considered.