Much Ado about Nothing or a Step Toward Democratization: The Oath Crisis in the Turkish Parliament
The June 12 Turkish national elections appeared to be a success. Less than a month after the election, however, the optimism that characterized the initial post-election mood is all but gone. The parliament reached an impasse when CHP and BDP deputies refused to take the required oath of office. Eight deputies-elect are awaiting trial for terror-related crimes. Not having been convicted, they could go to the parliament and take their oath. But first they have to be released from prison. A variety of possibilities were discussed to secure the release of the deputies-elect to allow them to come to the parliament, take their oaths, and thus end the “oath boycott.” Confronted with the opposition’s parliamentary boycott, the prime minister has chosen not to be accommodating. It seems that the CHP had decided on the oath boycott not as part of a carefully designed political strategy but as an act of protest. The boycott of the BDP is more deliberate, aiming to get the government to make commitments to recognize Kurdish rights. Did the parties persuade voters that such action was warranted to popularize the injustice that was done to the deputies-elect? That is unclear.