AKP firm on lifting BDP MPs’ immunity

AKP firm on lifting BDP MPs’ immunity

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP firm on lifting BDP MPs’ immunity

Nurettin Canikli says they will take steps to annul the parliamentary immunity of a group of BDP. AA photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will take steps by the end of October to annul the parliamentary immunity of a group of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers who sparked fury among ruling and nationalist opposition parties when they embraced outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants near Şemdinli last month.

“We will definitely take a step concerning the issue; we will fulfill the demands of society,” Nurettin Canikli, a deputy chair for the parliamentary group of the AKP, told Anatolia news agency on Friday.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) previously suggested limiting the immunity of some BDP lawmakers who were photographed hugging PKK members while coming from a party meeting near Şemdinli last month.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled Sept. 5 that his government favors the lifting of parliamentary immunity of BDP lawmakers whom he accused of openly promoting the PKK. 

“If they want to work within this Parliament, they must act within the framework of the Constitution and the law. Otherwise, we’ve already told the judiciary what is necessary; the judiciary is doing what is necessary. We will also do what is necessary in Parliament,” Erdoğan said at an extended group meeting of his AKP at the party’s headquarters.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, answering reporters’ questions on the issue during his meeting with Turkmenistan’s parliamentary speaker, said the MHP’s proposal did not fit the purpose. “Suggesting their deputyship continue even if they are sentenced is a contradiction,” Bozdağ said.
Canikli said they would not wait for a long time to annul the immunity of the BDP lawmakers, setting the date at the end of October. 

“We are waiting [for Parliament’s legislative year] to begin. I don’t think it will take a long time. Official notices will come [to Parliament]. The decision [to end the immunity of BDP lawmakers] will be taken and the result of that decision will be carried out by the end of October,” Canikli said. 

People demand and expect the annulment of the BDP deputies’ immunity, Canikli said. “It’s impossible to remain indifferent to a movement that does not stay away from violence. This is the requirement of law. In this sense, there’s nothing related with democracy. Even in the most advanced democracies, violence is refused and necessary penalties are implemented.”

Also speaking to Anatolia, Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission chair and AKP deputy Burhan Kuzu once again described BDP lawmakers as a “crime machine,” indicating that 576 of 755 cases about lawmakers that have been suspended due to their immunity concern BDP deputies.
“Both the ruling and opposition parties tolerated these files during the previous legislative year. But embracing terrorists in the mountains means saying ‘Go comrades, we’ll stand behind you.’ This is unacceptable,” Kuzu said.

The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights does not allow politicians to be linked with terrorism, Kuzu said, likening the BDP’s situation with the Batasuna of Spain, a party that was closed due to its links with the ETA.

The senior AKP member played down the BDP’s signal that the party would leave the Constitution Conciliation Commission if Parliament moved to lift their immunity. “It’s up to them, they would leave [the commission],” he said.

Kuzu suggested that ruling and opposition parties should find a solution to the issue together. “A step concerning this issue must be taken, and it will be useful to act with the opposition,” he said.