Letter by our Vice Co-Chair on the unlawful usurpation of HDPs RTSC member

To whom it may concern,

Barely a day goes by without another implementation of the regime which completely disregards the constitution, laws and democratic values. The most recent example took place at the membership elections for the Radio and Television Supreme Council of Turkey.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council is a constitutional and autonomous state agency for regulating and monitoring the media industry. The Constitution and the relevant law clearly designate how the membership election of the 9 members of the council will be held.

CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 133 - (as amended on 8/7/1993-act no. 3913/1)

The Radio and Television Supreme Council, established for the purpose of regulation and supervision of radio and television activities, is composed of nine members. The members are elected, on the basis of number of members allocated to each political party group, by the Plenary of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) from among the candidates, twice the number of which is nominated by political party groups in proportion to their number of members.

Law no.6112 on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Media Services Article 35 – clause (5)

... In these elections, vacant memberships' distribution by political party groups shall be performed by considering the number of members elected from the political party groups' quotas in the first election and the current proportions of the political party groups.

It is exceedingly clear that according to Article 133 of the Constitution, and Article 35/5 of the Law of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTSC), the members of the Radio and Television Supreme Council are determined according to the number of seats political parties have in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is, at present, represented with 54 members of parliament in the GNAT, and it is the 3rd largest party in the Assembly. According to the Constitution and the relevant law, of 9 Radio and Television Supreme Council members, our party has a quota of 1 membership by percentage.

On 15 July 2017, the term of office of the 2 Radio and Television Supreme Council members, one from the AKP, and another from the CHP, ended. At that time, the GNAT continued its legislative activities, and an election should have been held for the two seats that had been left vacant. However, in complete disregard of the Constitution and the relevant law, no election was held, and for 4 months, the Radio and Television Supreme Council convened without 2 members.

The reason the Presidency of the GNAT delayed the election until October was to take advantage of the fact that the term of our serving member was to end on November 5, and to usurp the HDP quota by fait accompli. The Presidency declared that the AKP Group would be given an extra seat, and asked the AKP Group to declare 2 candidates, and the CHP Group to report 1 candidate; and clearly overlooked the HDP Group which had a right to 1 membership.

At the election for 3 RTSC members held on 16 October 2017, one membership of our parliamentary group was handed over to the AKP as a 5th membership. As our group tried to prevent this injustice and unlawfulness during the elections at the General Assembly, unfortunately, other members of parliament and political party groups ratified this injustice.

The election that has been held is in breach of the Constitution and the relevant law, it is not legitimate. According to the Constitution, when the term of a RTSC member ends, the quota of that political party in parliament is recalculated, and if the party’s right to a membership continues, the party is asked to nominate a candidate for membership, and then the election is held. If the political party no longer holds a numerical majority in parliament, its right to a RTSC membership also ends, and that quota is transferred to another political party that holds the necessary numerical majority.

Although the numerical majority of the HDP, and its right to a RTSC quota continued, the GNAT Presidency acted as if the HDP Group did not exist in parliament, and handed over our quota to the AKP. This act is in clear violation of the Constitution. A second breach was that the GNAT did not hold an election for the 2 RTSC seats, despite being open in July.

At present, the AKP has 5, the CHP has 2, the MHP has 2, and the HDP has no seats at the RTSC. Although with its 36 members of parliament it should not be entitled, the MHP has 2 seats at the RTSC, and the HDP, with 54 members of parliament, has no seats. We would like to present this injustice, unlawfulness and political disgrace to the attention of the public in Turkey.

The AKP has carried out this operation in order to seize the majority at the Radio and Television Supreme Council, and take decisions that will put even more pressure on the media.

There can be no doubt that we will exercise our Constitutional and legal rights against this unjust and unlawful act, we will file an application with the Constitutional Court of Turkey for the annulment of this illegal election, we will seek justice.

However, it is important that the entire democratic public and national and international media institutions take note of this unlawful usurpation, and act accordingly. 

Saruhan Oluç
Peoples’ Democratic Party
Vice Co-Chair
20 October 2017