VIDEO: Turkish opposition MPs injured in scuffle during security bill debate
DHA PhotoThe first day of debate on a government-sponsored controversial homeland security package resulted in injuries to five parliamentarians because of a fracas between opposition and ruling party members, with the former accusing the latter of bullying in parliament.
Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Sebahat Tuncel from the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) and three Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers, Musa Çam, Aykut Erdoğdu and Mahmut Tanal, were injured late Feb. 17 during a debate on the bill in a closed session of the General Assembly.
Lawmakers of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) were accused of beating two female deputies of the HDP, Pervin Buldan and Tuncel.
Tanal shared the footage of the incident on YouTube:
Kürkçü sustained injuries to his head while CHP lawmakers were taken to hospital late Feb. 17 due to injuries they had to different parts of their body.
The security bill will continue to be debated in parliament today with opposition parties vowing to do everything to stop the legislation of the bill.
The two sides in the scuffle accused each other of beginning the fight, with the CHP and the HDP appealing to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office to launch an investigation into the incident. The opposition parties criticized Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ayşenur Bahçekapılı, who was managing the session at the time, for not giving the right to speak to the opposition parties and allowing AKP deputy parliamentary group leader Mustafa Elitaş to seize the rostrum.
CHP and HDP parliamentary groups held separate press conferences on Feb. 18 to condemn the violence at the hands of the AKP group and accused the ruling party “drawing the first blood even before the legislation of the security bill.”
“Twenty AKP lawmakers attacked me. [AKP MP] Oktay Saral and his friends were like bodyguards,” Musa Çam, who was seriously wounded in the fight, told daily Hürriyet. Çam said he sustained a fracture to his rib and was planning to file a criminal complaint after seeing the medical report to be issued by the hospital. Kürkçü described the incident as an attempt to lynch opposition lawmakers, stressing that the General Assembly had never witnessed such violence.
Levent Gök, a deputy parliamentary group of the CHP, accused the AKP of imposing fascism in parliament, vowing that they would do whatever necessary to stop such fascist laws. “We, as the CHP, are ready to pay whatever the cost is,” he said.
The HDP’s deputy parliamentary group leader, Buldan, described the security bill as a step to legitimize state terror, expressing her concern that its legislation would usher in a new dark era for Turkey. “The AKP group’s lynch attempt against our group is an indication of the derailment of the government. The AKP is like a like truck with failed brakes,” she said. “We will not permit the legislation of this bill.”
AKP in defense
Elitaş, a deputy parliamentary group leader of the AKP, denied claims that AKP deputies attacked opposition members, arguing that Buldan and Tuncel beat themselves and that Çam fell because someone stumbled into him.
“Unfortunately these three parties have formed an extraordinary coalition against us to stop this bill,” Elitaş said, accusing the parties of terrorizing parliament. Elitaş said they would continue to debate the law starting today and would do whatever necessary to ensure it was approved.
HDP says Kurdish process at risk
HDP spokespersons linked the Feb. 17 debate on the security bill with the ongoing Kurdish peace process, reiterating that the insistence on the legislation could destroy the process. Buldan criticized the AKP government for attempting to end the peace process through the tension it was fueling in parliament, saying: “Why would a government whose objective is achieving a democratic solution and peace need such a law? Why is there need for this bill if you are to bring about peace?”
This law reveals the insincerity of the government for the peace process, she said. “Is the government’s real purpose to end the process?”