ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
This year's Victory Day celebrations sparked a new protocol debate in Ankara when the country's top judge publicly criticized the military after being assigned a back row seat during a Friday ceremony.
�It's a discriminatory attitude toward the judiciary,� Haşim Kılıç, president of the Constitutional Court, told reporters late Saturday while attending the reception for the new Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ's. Kılıç protested his treatment at both Friday's handover ceremony and Saturday's Victory Day parade.
�As the president of the Constitutional Court, I am number three on the state protocol list. I had to be seated right next to the PM,� Kılıç said.
�It's not personal,� Kılıç said. �It's an institutional demand. Legislation, execution and judiciary should stand right after the president.�
Though the office of the Chief of General Staff officially apologized to Kılıç for the protocol mistake Friday, the top judge said he would express his objections to appropriate institutions today.
�I will write letters on Monday to some institutions to avoid future mistakes,� he said.
Similarly, Deniz Baykal, leader of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, was a victim of strict protocol rules barring him from Friday's ceremony after arriving one minute late. Baykal also chose not to attend the Victory Day parade, but was present at the reception late Saturday.
Though statesmen are very sensitive with protocol rules when it comes to seating assignments, this sensitivity appears to diminish regarding how they dress. President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Haşim Kılıç and nearly all ministers, except Zafer Çağlayan, Industry Minister, preferred to wear business suits rather than tuxedos, as requested by the Chief of General Staff.