HDP, CHP MPs appeal to annul bill scrapping immunities

HDP, CHP MPs appeal to annul bill scrapping immunities

HDP, CHP MPs appeal to annul bill scrapping immunities

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Lawmakers from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have applied to the Constitutional Court to annul a controversial constitutional amendment that scraps immunities of many MPs on the grounds that it violates fundamental aspects of the charter. 

Lawmakers from the two political parties issued appeals to the top court on an individual basis after the HDP’s efforts to garner 110 lawmakers for a collective appeal failed due to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s strong opposition. 

The first individual application was made by CHP Trabzon MP Haluk Pekşen early May 26, followed by another four CHP lawmakers. A total of 58 lawmakers from the 59-person HDP caucus later issued their individual petitions to the top court for the annulment of the constitutional amendment.  

Members of the Constitutional Committee of the Parliament from the HDP, Mithat Sancar and Meral Danış Beştaş, deputy leader Aysel Tuğluk, party spokesman Ayhan Bilgen and Mardin Deputy Erol Dora were present at the court on May 26 to issue petitions on behalf of the HDP lawmakers. 

“We have made our application for a legal examination and the annulment of the constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, we are always coming to the same point. I am one living witness to the experience we had with party closures and the lifting of immunities. What did all these bring to Turkish democracy?” Tuğluk told reporters. “We are sorry to revisit this sour development.” 

Tanrıkulu applies using right to object 

CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu was also among lawmakers who applied to the court, but he said his application was not an individual appeal but was made under Article 85 of the constitution, which address the right to object. 

“I hope that the Constitutional Court will examine this amendment that violates the law, constitution and universal rights and will help Turkey avoid a political crisis,” Tanrıkulu said, recalling that parliament had never sought in the past to lift the immunities of lawmakers through constitutional amendments. 

“We do not accept the depiction of lawmakers as crime machines and the degradation of parliament. The responsibility for terror, violence and deaths belongs to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and this government. They want to move Turkey toward the presidential system through chaos, conflict and deaths,” he said.    

A constitutional amendment that was approved last week lifted the immunities of 148 lawmakers, most of whom come from the HDP and CHP. Some MPs could be jailed on terror-related charges. 

Along with MPs from four political parties represented in parliament, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has 41 proceedings against him, HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş has 41 and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has nine cases pending at parliament. The files will be sent to prosecutors to begin a judicial process.