Turkey takes step towards stripping Kurdish lawmakers of immunity

A commission in the Turkish parliament approved a bill overnight Tuesday that would remove the legal immunity of numerous lawmakers, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Two-thirds of the parliament must now approve the constitutional amendment, which has especially negative implications for members of the opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the HDP of being the parliamentary arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), against which Ankara is currently waging war in Turkey's south-eastern regions and neighbouring Iraq.

The change would be in effect for only a month and cannot be disputed in constitutional court, according to the HDP, which would lose its place in parliament if the proposal goes through and its delegates are taken to trial and receive sentences.

According to Anadolu, the move to remove immunity from prosecution for lawmakers would affect 136 of a total 550 officials. Of those potentially stripped of protection are 50 of 59 HDP members.

Discussions on the change had led to multiple outbreaks of fistfighting and shoving matches in the commission over the last week between members of the HDP and the ruling Justice and Development Paty (AKP) that left some with injuries, according to Anadolu.

Last update: Tue, 03/05/2016 - 14:52
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