AKP deputies make U-turn after Erdoğan’s veto of law on thermal power plants

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President of Turkey and Leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) greets people during the AK Party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on February 20, 2018. Turkish Presidency / Murat Cetinmuhurdar / Handout / Anadolu Agency

A number of Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies who supported a law that would have delayed the installation of filters on thermal power plants in Turkey have changed their minds and begun to praise President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his veto of the law, citing environmental concerns.

On Monday Erdoğan vetoed the law that would have delayed the installation of filters on 15 thermal power plants in Turkey.

The Turkish Parliament on Nov. 21 passed a bill that postponed the installation of filters in 15 thermal plants for two-and-a-half years. Before passage of the legislation, the thermal plants had a deadline of Dec. 1 to install the filters. The bill was passed thanks to support from the AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies, while the other parties in the Parliament opposed it.

Erdoğan said the filter installation had been delayed a few times before and that the energy companies had failed to do their job.

“We cannot work with companies that pollute the environment and prevent our citizens from breathing clean air,” he said.

No AKP deputy had criticized the law publicly, but after Erdoğan’s veto, some congratulated Erdoğan for making the right decision and prioritizing public health and environment over the interests of some energy companies.

AKP deputy chairman and Kahramanmaraş deputy Mahir Ünal tweeted: “By saying that ‘people and their health come first, ‘Our President, esteemed Erdoğan, vetoed the law that would postpone the installation of filters on the Afşin-Elbistan power plant. I offer my thanks to our president on behalf of all the people of Kahramanmaraş.”

Another AKP deputy, Ahmet Özdemir, also thanked Erdoğan from his social media account for not disregarding the concerns of the people and the efforts of the deputies by vetoing the law on thermal power plants.

AKP deputy Mehmet Cihat Sezal also thanked Erdoğan for the veto.

In the meantime former AKP deputy Şamil Tayyar criticized the AKP deputies for not expressing their concerns about the law before Erdoğan’s veto.

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