AKP not to push MPs to vote for lifting immunities

AKP not to push MPs to vote for lifting immunities

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP not to push MPs to vote for lifting immunities

Arınç says deputies will vote based on ‘personal convictions.’ AA photo

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will probably not make a ‘group decision’ to strip opposition MPs of their immunity for speaking with militants.

“Each lawmaker will make the correct decision considering the legal and political dimensions of the issue. I don’t think a group decision will be taken [for lifting the immunities]... ,” Arınç told reporters yesterday in Bursa.

Lawmakers from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), including co-chair Gültan Kışanak, were seen embracing and warmly chatting with armed and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants near Şemdinli in Hakkari province Aug. 17. Following a two-month-long examination, the Van Prosecutors’ Office asked for permission to open an investigation into the BDP deputies on charges of providing aid to the PKK. The prosecutor has demanded annulment of the deputies’ parliamentary immunity and five to 10 year jail sentences.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had previously called on the judiciary to take action against the BDP deputies, reiterated his support of the annulment of their immunities on Nov. 26.

Political agenda

The issue has been dominating Turkey’s political agenda as many ruling party officials have been battling to justify Erdoğan’s eagerness to lift the immunity of BDP lawmakers.

President Abdullah Gül, however, urged the government last week not to push Turkey “into a dead end,” a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed comments about the disagreement with the president over the issue.

AKP deputy chair Mehmet Ali Şahin agreed with Gül, saying BDP lawmakers should not be detained even if their immunities are abolished. Kurdish deputies within the AKP voiced their discomfort over Erdoğan’s eagerness to lift the immunities, as AKP Diyarbakır lawmaker Galip Ensarioğlu, who vowed to oppose such a move on Nov. 30. Arınç described the claims as “gossip” and said that Ensarioğlu’s remarks do not show a rift within the AKP. “Mr. Ensarioğlu voiced his personal opinions on the issue,’” Arınç said.