ADDS MORE REMARKS FROM MUSTAFA SENTOP
By Emin Avundukluoglu, Merve Berker and Ali Kemal Akan
ANKARA (AA) - The head of Turkey’s parliament said late Wednesday that he sent a letter to his Israeli counterpart on the vaccination of Palestinian prisoners against the coronavirus.
Speaking to the local Haberturk channel, Mustafa Sentop said he had received a letter from the Palestinian Embassy on the vaccination of prisoners.
He said he discussed the issue with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Foreign Ministry.
Sentop said he then sent a letter to Israeli parliament speaker Yariv Levin on vaccinating Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israel’s prisons, noting that this was a humanitarian issue.
"Our friends are following [the process]," he said.
Israel is one of the world's leaders in vaccinating its population. Nearly half its population has already received one dose. Meanwhile, neighboring Palestinian territories are struggling to secure their own vaccine supplies.
Regarding Turkey’s new constitution, Sentop said "it is necessary to concentrate on the agreed points and to try to act on them. A solution can be found.”
He recalled that the predictions of political parties on the constitution can be understood when they are poured into articles in concrete terms.
"I think the debate on the new constitution should be taken seriously [...] Getting results must necessarily be the goal, but a concrete text must appear," he said.
He stressed that he does not accept the claim that parliament is disabled by a presidential system of government.
"In the presidential system of government, the relationship between the structure of parliament and the executive, that is, the political party of which the president is a member, is not the only option. In the parliamentary system, a citizen is granted a single vote. With this single vote, he or she is asked to determine both the executive and the parliament. More precisely, you determine the parliament by one vote.
"However, in the new system, citizens are granted two voting rights. It has the right to determine the government by a separate vote and parliament by a separate vote. Therefore, in this system, the citizen has the right to choose the president from a political party and not to make the political party of which the president is a member a majority in parliament.
"The citizen gives the vote to the president, while in parliament, he may not give the vote to his party. In such a case, a different majority structure may arise in parliament," he said.
- Istanbul Convention
The parliament speaker said there was a law in Turkey to protect the family and to prevent violations against women.
"The courts [in Turkey] make their decisions according to this law. The withdraw from the [Istanbul] Convention does not abolish this law," he said.
"Basing this issue on the Istanbul Convention, saying that 'the violence will increase completely when the contract is gone' is both not in line with the international reality and statistical information," he said.
President Erdogan signed a decree last Friday to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, which it signed in 2011 -- the first country to do so.
The convention seeks to prevent violence against women, including domestic violence, and bring an end to legal impunity for perpetrators.
While the convention was enforced in 34 countries including Turkey, some countries – Ukraine, the UK, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Hungary, Armenia and Bulgaria – signed the document but have yet to ratify it.
Some items of the convention caused debate over gender equality in Turkey, with critics saying they damage traditional family values.
Turkish officials say national legislation is enough to defend women from violence without the need for the convention.
Sentop said he gives "zero chance" for the possibility of an early election.
"It used to be very easy to make decisions for early elections. A qualified number was also not sought in parliament. When the decision was made, they were able to make an election decision.
"It is not the same now. A qualified majority in parliament is now needed to decide on an early election. We have established a balanced system here. The election of the president is also renewed if parliament decides to hold an election. When the president decides to choose, he cuts his own time [...] Early elections are against the logic of this system,” he said.
"Early elections are out of the question in this system. In that regard, let me express the difficulty of this legally, and it does not make much sense politically."