MHP calls for lifting MPs’ immunity after meet row
Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of nationalist opposition MHP, poses with a crying baby after speaking to the media. Bahçeli wants to scrap all Turkish MPs’ immunities. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
A nationalist opposition party has called on all political parties to abolish legislative immunity to uncover lawmakers who betray the Turkish people, in reaction to Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies’ embracing terrorists.
“We have to agree on the abolishment of parliamentary immunity to discern those in Parliament who work for the division of Turkey,” Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) told reporters yesterday. Bahçeli’s words are part of growing reactions against the BDP, whose lawmakers embraced and warmly chatted with terrorists of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Şemdinli province of Hakkari.
A local prosecutor has launched a probe into the meeting, but the lawmakers are protected from being prosecuted because of the comprehensive immunity members of Parliament enjoy. A constitutional amendment is needed to strip lawmakers of the immunity and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is critical, as it has 326 seats, the absolute majority.
“There are four political parties and 550 lawmakers in Parliament. However we should make a distinction between those who represent the Turkish people and those who betray the Turkish people. We should clearly find out which lawmakers were elected through the will of the people and which of them through the PKK’s will,” Bahçeli said.
The BDP, represented with 29 lawmakers, is frequently criticized for not denouncing terror and the PKK and is considered the political wing of the terror organization, though they strongly deny this. “A great responsibility lies with the lawmakers. They should pick out and exclude PKK sympathizers and those who try to divide Turkey,” he said.
‘Atalay should resign’
Bahçeli also criticized Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, the architect of the government’s opening policy toward Turkish people of Kurdish descent.
“It’s been three years and 20 days since the launch of this opening policy. Where has this policy led Turkey? I think the minister who initiated this should be able to judge this through soul-searching and should resign to satisfy the people’s expectations,” he said.