HDP co-chair says ‘bring it on’ in immunity row

HDP co-chair says ‘bring it on’ in immunity row

HDP co-chair says ‘bring it on’ in immunity row

AA photo

The political row which erupted after the Turkish president called for the co-leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to have their immunities lifted to facilitate an investigation has prompted one of the party’s co-chairs to say “bring it on.”

Responding to questions over remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had said the party’s co-chairs should have their parliamentary immunity removed for an investigation into their “constitutional crimes,” HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ used the phrase “bring it on.”  

“Our deputies, elected [mayors] and our [party’s] co-chairs have never had immunities so far,” Yüksekdağ said at a press conference in the southeastern province of Van on Jan. 2. 

“There is nothing we have not faced and there is nothing left for us to be afraid of. We signed it when the immunities were discussed for the first time. We, with 80 deputies, submitted our petitions [to remove the immunities of lawmakers] to the parliamentary speaker on that day. We said ‘bring it on’ on that day. Those petitions are still there,” said Yüksekdağ.

Prosecutors last week opened a criminal probe against HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş for his comments at a conference before opening a similar investigation against Yüksekdağ.

“What the two co-leaders said is definitely a constitutional crime,” Erdoğan said, speaking to a group of journalists aboard the presidential plane returning to Turkey from Riyadh, where he met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdülaziz al-Saud.

“They should pay a price for it,” he said. “I believe that the lifting of immunity of those against whom the cases have been initiated will help the atmosphere in our country in the fight against terror in a positive way,” Erdoğan added. “We cannot accept statements calling for the country to be broken up. We will never agree to a state within a state.” 

Yüksekdağ attended a meeting of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) held in southeastern Diyarbakır province between Dec. 26, 2015, and Dec. 27, 2015, where the establishment of “democratic autonomous regions” was presented as a solution to the Kurdish problem.

The attendees also asked for “self-governance” and embraced the “legitimate insurgency” in a number of southeastern districts, while also urging the people of Turkey to support their cause.