Immunity controversy hits Ankara

Immunity controversy hits Ankara

Immunity controversy hits Ankara

Main opposition CHP’s Kılıçdaroğlu calls for lifting all immunities. DAILY NEWS photo

The Prime Ministry introduced a summary of proceedings to the Parliament speaker’s Office yesterday on 10 deputies of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his support for the annulment of their immunity when the issue comes to Parliament’s agenda.

Erdoğan’s determination to lift the immunities found clear support from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) reiterated its support for the principle of parliamentary immunity, without giving any clues as to whether it would support lifting the immunities of BDP deputies at the General Assembly.

The BDP was defiant in the face of the threat, with co-chair Gülten Kışanak, one of the 10 deputies subject to possible prosecution, saying they were ready to pay the price for their cause, as has been the case so far.

“We are tired of the prime minister setting the agenda according to his own wishes. When the Roboski massacre took place, he said ‘abortion’ and when hunger strikes took place, he said ‘death penalty.’ As he wishes, he may discuss these issues himself, but we will not be discussing these issues. If the immunities come onto the agenda, let the immunities of those responsible for Roboski also be lifted,” Kışanak said yesterday at the BDP’s parliamentary group meeting. Families of victims of the Uludere (“Roboski” in Kurdish) tragedy also attended the meeting. Some 34 civilian villagers who were smuggling oil from Iraq were killed in an air raid by Turkish jets on Dec. 28, 2011, in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Uludere.

Corruption charges

There are many official notices in Parliament on charges of infamous crimes and none of these files are related to BDP deputies, Kışanak noted, calling for immunities to be lifted for these kinds of crimes and adding that there were similar files on corruption charges regarding the prime minister as well.

Despite having suggested that Erdoğan’s statements on the issue were aimed at buying time, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli yesterday reiterated his full support for the lifting of immunities of those who don’t maintain a distance from terror organizations. “The MHP will be there until the end to lift the immunities of those who aid terror and who are not able to keep a distance from the terror organization,” Bahçeli told a meeting of his party’s group.

The 10 lawmakers in question were seen embracing members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near Şemdinli in Hakkari province in August. At the time, Erdoğan openly called on the judiciary to take action against them, hinting that his party would act to lift their immunity when the issue came to Parliament.

“Let all immunities be lifted except parliamentary immunity,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday in response to questions, highlighting that lawmakers should not be immune when they were charged with crimes such as corruption. “We will make a principled decision. Let there be parliamentary immunity, let the lawmaker say what he thinks, but we don’t accept immunities other than that,” he said, without elaborating on whether they would vote in favor of lifting the immunities of BDP deputies.