AKP in bid to calm down tensions over immunity

AKP in bid to calm down tensions over immunity

AKP in bid to calm down tensions over immunity

Abolishing the immunities of MPs does not mean stripping them of their seats,’ Justice and Development Party deputy group chair Mahir Ünal says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is attempting to calm reactions against a possible move to abolish the immunity of a number of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies for meeting with militants, with a senior AKP member reiterating that lifting immunity will not automatically lead to the detention of lawmakers.

“There’s no discrimination against the lawmakers from the BDP. If there’s a legal obligation for abolishing the immunity of lawmakers, it would be abolished regardless of parties. There’s an oversensitivity as if their immunities will be abolished intentionally, but this is not true,” AKP deputy parliamentary group chair Mahir Ünal told Anatolia news agency yesterday.

Pondering the issue

Ünal stressed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had not said for certain that they were going to abolish the immunities of BDP lawmakers, but rather that they would ponder the issue when the file comes to Parliament.

“Abolishing the immunities of lawmakers does not mean stripping them of their parliamentary seats. It doesn’t mean they will be arrested either. The AK Party will debate the issue in its executive bodies and take its final decision,” Ünal said.

The issue of BDP lawmakers’ immunities has been dominating Turkey’s political agenda since Erdoğan emphasized his willingness to support the move on Nov. 26. He had also called on the judiciary to take action against the nine BDP deputies and an independent deputy who were seen embracing and warmly chatting with armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants near Şemdinli in Hakkari province Aug. 17. The Van Prosecutors’ Office asked for permission to open a probe into the BDP deputies on charges of providing aid to the PKK following a two-month-long inquiry. Just a day after Erdoğan’s statements, the Prime Ministry provided the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office with a summary of proceedings on the deputies in question on Nov. 27. The proceedings were then sent to Parliament’s Joint Constitution and Justice Commission. If the members of the Commission give their consent, the summary will be sent to the General Assembly, where a vote may pave the way to the opening of cases against the deputies.