AKP to seek ‘organic terror ties’ to lift MPs’ immunities

AKP to seek ‘organic terror ties’ to lift MPs’ immunities

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP to seek ‘organic terror ties’ to lift MPs’ immunities

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) should use the language and instruments of legitimate politics if it wants to be considered a political actor, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says at a meeting of the ruling party. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

With Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowing to stand in unity as a party over the abolishing of immunities of a number of opposition lawmakers, the roadmap on the upcoming process of how the ruling party will formulate its move is becoming clearer.

Although Erdoğan told the lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) that they were considering abolishing the immunity of deputies on issues related to terror and corruption in a closed-door meeting on Nov. 4, the idea of lifting the immunities of those who have “organic ties with terrorism” has gained weight among party officials, sources have told the Hürriyet Daily News. However, it is not yet clear how “organic ties” will be defined.

A summary of proceedings against those charged with committing the infamous “crime against public officials” - such as doctors and members of the police - will also be initially examined.

According to the AKP’s formula, only the immunities of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers will be at risk. The governing party is planning to debate the summary of proceedings against those that are related to “terrorism” at Parliament’s Joint Constitution and Justice Commission, which is the authorized forum for debating MPs’ immunity. If the members of the Commission give their consent, the cases would be sent to the General Assembly, whose vote result may pave the way to trying the deputies in question.

The AKP will launch the process in January, after the budget debates at the General Assembly ends. The Commission’s works could last until April, according to the AKP.

Despite his apparent confidence, Erdoğan yesterday devoted himself to persuading his lawmakers and the people as to why abolishing immunities would be right. Speaking at a party meeting, the premier slammed BDP co-chair Gültan Kışanak, who said Kurds may not come back to Parliament again if immunities are lifted.

‘Threatening’ AKP

“They say it would be worse after [the abolition of immunities]. They are threatening us. Then why there is law in this country? Why is there an AK Party?” Erdoğan said, while also criticizing the media for “portraying the BDP as the victim.”

“You are portraying the BDP as the ‘victim’ when the judiciary fulfills its duty and Parliament takes responsibility. What kind of mentality is that?” Erdoğan said at an expanded meeting of his party’s provincial chairs.

According to the prime minister, the BDP should use the language and instruments of legitimate politics if it wants to be considered a political actor. “Otherwise, they cannot claim that they are political counterpart. Terrorism and violence is not a method for claiming rights, everyone should understand this,” Erdoğan said.

President Abdullah Gül, for his part, preferred to stay out of the debate, refusing to respond to journalists’ questions on the issue at a joint press conference with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

When a reporter mentioned the issue of the immunity of BDP lawmakers, Gül did not even allow her to conclude the question, saying: “No, there’s nothing more to say on this issue. Our statements are being reflected beyond our intentions. Everyone is taking different inferences from our remarks. Frankly speaking, I’m annoyed about it. Let’s see [what will happen], I hope the best for the country happens.”