Entire CHP assembly under legal investigation over Erdoğan’s complaint
Rifat Başaran - ANKARA
Prosecutors are investigating all 60 members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) party assembly for “defaming and insulting the presidential post, the Turkish nation, state and its institutions,” upon complaints filed by the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2016.
News of the probes comes over one year after the complaints were filed, with prosecutors ruling to lift the immunity of CHP MPs in the council. Investigations into assembly members who are not MPs are ongoing.
“This is the first time that the entire assembly of a political party has been subjected to a legal investigation,” CHP Istanbul deputy Ilhan Cihaner told daily Hürriyet on Nov. 30.
Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın issued a criminal complaint against all CHP assembly members and CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Nov. 8 2016 for “insulting the president.” On the same day the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) issued a complaint about “defaming and insulting the presidential post, the Turkish nation, state and its institutions.”
The complaints came after the CHP assembly issued a statement on Nov. 6 2016 condemning massive purges of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and journalists at daily Cumhuriyet.
“The palace and AKP officials who aided and abetted FETÖ [Fetullahist Terrorist Organization], the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party] and ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] are presenting the biggest threat to our democracy and the survival of our country,” the four-article statement read on Nov. 6.
In order to pursue the criminal case, prosecutors have issued summaries of proceedings against CHP MPs in the assembly and sent those proceedings to parliament in order to initiate the process to lift their immunity.
To launch an investigation based on “defaming the Turkish nation,” deemed a crime in Article 301 of the country’s Criminal Code, prosecutors must receive approval from the Justice Ministry.