(Sukru Kizilot, Hurriyet Newspaper, 7 July 2013)
People vs. Parliamentarians. Same the world over.
While I was having tea with the tax office director in his
office, an agitated person with a tax notice came in
without even saying hello and began talking:
"Mr. Director, I'm a parliamentarian, what's with this
tax notice? We have immunity, can a penalty be assessed
to a parliamentarian?"
The Director looked at the tax notice and said calmly "Sir,
this is a different issue, there's no connection with
parliamentarian immunity. This penalty has to do with your
"Mr. Director, can such a thing happen? Why don't you
take a good look at the tax laws. I'm sure there's a paragraph
that prevents parliamentarians from being penalized."
"Dear Parliamentarian, there is such a paragraph in the tax
law, paragraph 373, that refers to 'compelling circumstances.'"
"OK brother, put my situation into the 'compelling circumstances'
exemption and lift the penalty."
"Sir this is impossible. The 'compelling circumstances' are spelled
out one by one in the law. For example, serious illness, a serious
accident, imprisonment, earthquake, flood, loss of records. Also,
special situations that occur out of the control of a person, such as
an airplane hijacking or martial law, are covered by the 'compelling
circumstances' exemption. Your being elected as a parliamentarian
is not one of these."
"Give me the law, let me take a look!". The parliamentarian then
read the paragraph carefully but couldn't find a section that he liked.
Toward the end of the paragraph, though, he found a sentence that made
his eyes glow: 'situations like these'. "Look here, my situation falls
into this category, 'situations like these.' So lift the penalty."
"Sir, we can't make such a judgment but the best thing for you to do
is to get an administration ruling from the Finance Ministry that says
that being elected as a parliamentarian falls into the 'situations like these'
category. Then we'll lift the penalty."
So what happened next? As you guessed, the parliamentarian got the
requisite ruling and his penalty was lifted. For those of you who don't
believe this or are curious, you can find the ruling on page 1744 of the
second volume of my book 'Council of State Decisions and Rulings