The Turkish parliament yesterday stripped almost a quarter of its members of immunity in the largest removal of immunity in Turkish history. The move included 138 deputies out of a total of 550, and these 138 deputies are currently facing criminal investigations.
It was clear that this process is specifically aimed at the Peoples’ Democratic Party due to its attitudes towards the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that is locked in an old bloody conflict with the central government, and it has been reported that some members have left the country already.
The result of the vote came as a surprise because the ruling party does not have a majority which qualifies it to amend the constitution in order to strip immunity. Out of the 531 members who voted, 376 supported the amendment which means that it was passed without having to resort to a referendum, as the amendment is a constitutional matter and requires the approval of at least 367 deputies.
Among the 138 deputies facing criminal investigations, 27 deputies belong to the ruling Justice and Development Party, 51 to the Republican People’s Party, 50 to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, 9 to the Nationalist Movement Party and one deputy is independent. The charges against them vary between terrorism, abuse, defamation, threats, fraud, praising crimes and criminals, breaching the laws of meetings and demonstrations and the violation of privacy.
In anticipation of possible resolutions, two Kurdish deputies have left the country for Europe. The public prosecutor has accused MP Faisal Sari Yildiz of cooperating and working with terrorist organisations by supplying them with arms, and MP Toubi Hazeer of participating in the funeral of a suicide bomber in the Turkish capital.