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Former CHP Deputy Atilla Kart Alleges CHP Blocked Him from Representing Party at ECHR for Unsealed Votes

Former CHP (Republican People’s Party) Member of Parliament, Atilla Kart, has made claims that the party leadership obstructed him from taking the crucial decision to contest the validity of unsealed votes used in the 2017 Constitutional Referendum at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on behalf of the CHP.

In a recent interview on Nevşin Mengü’s YouTube channel, Atilla Kart revealed his frustration over the handling of unsealed votes in the 2017 Turkish constitutional amendment referendum and suggested that CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu did not strongly object to recognizing these votes after the referendum.

Key points from Atilla Kart’s statements include:

“When discussing the issue of unsealed envelopes and votes, it brings back painful memories for me. I received authorization from the party’s headquarters. We’re talking about the April 16 referendum. I went and explained my intentions four days later, stating, ‘I will file a lawsuit, and I will achieve results.’ Bülent Tezcan [alongside Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu] exchanged glances and, realizing my determination, said, ‘Alright, my friend, proceed as necessary.’ I was granted special power of attorney on behalf of my party on April 20, 2017. I knew that pursuing this matter within the Council of State wouldn’t yield results since domestic legal avenues were exhausted in Turkey. However, I was eager to take the case to the ECHR as soon as possible and managed to wrap up a case that would typically take 8-10 months in just 45 days.

On the third day of the Justice March, which took place on June 15-16, I prepared a 45-page lawsuit petition, along with 250 pages of supporting documents. I personally presented the folder to the party’s President in Kızılcahamam, stating, ‘I’m requesting your permission. I plan to file this case directly in Strasbourg, rather than sending it by mail, given the urgency.’ He reviewed the documents and commented, ‘Well done, and may your path be smooth.’ My plane ticket was promptly booked.

‘THE PARTY LEADER SUGGESTED I SHOULD NOT ACT ON BEHALF OF THE PARTY’

The day after our meeting, I received calls from both Haluk Koç and Tekin Bingöl. They conveyed, ‘Atilla Bey, the party leader believes you should not act on behalf of the party, but rather in your own name.’ My response was, ‘Couldn’t I have initiated the lawsuit as Atilla Kart! The critical aspect here is to represent the party’s interests, which is the party’s duty and responsibility.’ An hour later, Bülent Tezcan contacted me, expressing his surprise by saying, ‘Atilla Bey, where did this idea come from?’ I retorted, ‘What do you mean, where did it come from? Weren’t we aligned on this, and didn’t you authorize me? Did I suddenly decide to open this case out of the blue?’ He replied, ‘Yes, that’s how we perceived it initially, but now, as the leadership, we have a different perspective.’

We convened for a meeting, with an interpreter present and a total of three individuals. At the end of each page, the highest-ranking person commented, ‘Excellent, this is exactly how a case should be initiated’… We reached page 10. Who was the plaintiff? Atilla Kart. A member of the group raised an objection, asking, ‘What are you saying? You’re initiating a case in Turkey on behalf of CHP, but here, you’re coming forward as Atilla Kart.’ I countered, ‘I’m a citizen, and I possess the right to make an individual application,’ though I wasn’t entirely convinced myself, as my standing and locus standi were being called into question.”

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