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Silencing Attempts In the Turkish Parliament: Death of Deputy Hasan Bitmez

In the Turkish parliament, budget discussions are held every year in order to plan the allocation of money for the expenditures and revenues of the upcoming year. These allocations are planned and adjusted according to the requests made by numerous deputies from different parties. During the discussions, willing deputies make amendments and entertain them via speeches in the dais of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye. Ultimately, the participating party deputies vote on a final version of the budget report.

The budget talks for 2024 began on 26 October 2023 in the Turkish parliament. Due to the severe issues, Türkiye as well as the rest of the world is dealing with, such as the atrocity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this year’s talks have been surrounded by controversies. Deputies sometimes even get into disputes through offensive discourses that aim to refute each other’s points. Nevertheless, if the deputies breach the respect rules, the president of general assembly has to interfere with the debate, and restrict them from interacting with each other during the budget talk sessions.

On 12 December, Tuesday, one of the most active deputies of the Saadet Party in the parliament, Hasan Bitmez took the floor to deliver his speech and represent his party group at the budget discussion sessions for the Justice of Ministry and the State Department of State in 2024. By his 22 minutes long speech, he expressed that there were obvious contradictions between the government’s policies towards the country which in his opinion was committing serious humanity crimes, Israel. In addition, he elaborated on his thoughts about the government’s approach to the Palestinian-Israeli War by using a banner throughout his speech. The banner was read: “Katil İsrail, İşbirlikçi AKP” (The Murderer Is Israel, The Collaborator Is The Justice and Development Party) in Turkish. As Bitmez was unveiling his vista on the issue, voices arose from the powerholder party, AKP deputies. However, there was a specific part in his speech that frustrated the members of AKP, which was the concluding remarks. In the conclusion, he mentioned dramatic expressions from one of Sezai Karakoç’s writings. He said “If history is silenced, truth will talk no regardless of any event. They think that any problems aren’t going to be elicited if they get rid of us. Nonetheless, you will not be able to overcome you guilt even if you can get rid of us. If you get rid of the wrath of the history, you will not succeed at getting rid of the wrath of God.”

After articulating his thoughts through these words, Bitmez suddenly fell down in a fit that indicated that he was having an heart attack. To be more concise, he hadn’t had a heart attack coincidentally, but owing to the objections coming from AKP deputies with loud voices or screams, according to parliamentary minutes recorded by the witnesses of the incident. People believe that his heart couldn’t endure the silencing attempts of AKP members. Later on, first aid came from the doctor deputies as soon as Bitmez fell on the floor. When he fell down to the floor, he also hit his head to the marble floor of the Grand National Assembly, which triggered his health situation to deteriorate. In spite of Hasan Bitmez losing his consciousness and fighting to survive, AKP party members were still yelling, and saying “This is what God’s wrath is like.”

Unfortunately, in the intensive care unit, Hasan Bitmez didn’t respond to any of the treatments, and died on 14 December 2023, at 11.50 a.m. His death is now counted to be the fourth case to die in the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye. Citizens all over Türkiye and politicians, including the AKP deputies who had shouted in the parliament right before when Bitmez lost his consciousness. What is more, Özlem Zengin, who is the AKP Group Deputy Chairman, and was also included in the silencing act during the speech of Bitmez, stated that the AKP members who were sitting in the back were not able to understand the seriousness of the issue. Although a majority of the people are saying that Zengin’s statement is just making up an excuse for an inacceptable behavior, the others continue to defend the claim of Zengin.

On 15 December, a ceremony was held in the memorial of Hasan Bitmez, in the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye. The ceremony was held with participants such as president chairs Özgür Özel, Temel Karamollaoğlu, Ali Babacan, Ahmet Davutoğlu as well as lots of politicians from many distinct parties. Readers are now going to shape their own beliefs, were the AKP members sitting behind, and didn’t hear what was really going on in the dais or is it a lax excuse which is made up instantly?

Works Cited

Gazetesi, Evrensel. “Saadet Partisi Milletvekili Hasan Bitmez, Filistin Bayrağıyla Uğurlandı.” Evrensel.Net, 15 Dec. 2023, Accessed 16 Dec. 2023.

Kiras, İbrahim. “Herkesin Bildiği, Hiç Kimsenin Söylemediği - İbrahim Kiras.” KARAR

“Hasan Bitmez: Meclis Kürsüsünde Fenalaşan Saadet Partisi Kocaeli Milletvekili Hayatını Kaybetti.” BBC News Türkçe, BBC

“Özlem Zengin’den Hasan Bitmez Için Taziye Mesajı: Mekanı Cennet Olsun.” Gazete Duvar

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