MHP calls for lifting immunity of MPs
This photo shows MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli (L) and CHP leade Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (R) shaking hands. AA photoThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has submitted a motion to lift the legislative immunity of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers who embraced outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, while the main opposition party has given a cold shoulder to the proposal.
“The legislative immunity of the supporters of terrorism who embraced these blood-shedding murderers must be urgently reviewed,” the MHP proposal said. The proposal, prepared by deputy group chairs Oktay Vural and Mehmet Şandır, was submitted to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The MHP’s proposal envisages the inclusion of “supporting terrorism and terrorists” in Article 83 of the new constitution, which stipulates under what conditions a lawmaker’s immunity could be lifted. The existing article states that a deputy who is alleged to have committed an offense before or after an election cannot be arrested, interrogated, detained or tried unless Parliament decides otherwise.
Speaking after a party meeting, CHP deputy chair Haluk Koç said his party would lend its support only if the legislative immunity is limited to what is called the “chair immunity,” a type of immunity that prevents deputies from being brought to trial due to their speeches in Parliament.
Describing the MHP as “the fellow party of the AKP,” Koç said: “Does the MHP have any clue why MHP deputy Engin Alan is in detention? Have they heard about Article 14 of the Constitution?,” Koç said, referring to the constitutional provision that no freedom can be used against the unity of the country.
In related news, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek drew attention to the fact that a parliamentary commission is working to draft a new constitution, and the issue of parliamentary immunity will surely be addressed when it addresses the duties and responsibilities of members of Parliament. Çiçek avoided specifically commenting on the MHP’s proposal, instead giving some statistical data on the number of cases suspended at Parliament.
According to the data, there are 755 cases involving lawmakers suspended due to their immunity. The majority of these cases are on charges of “propagandizing for a terror organization,” and have been brought against BDP deputies. Twenty-four BDP lawmakers are named in 576 cases at Parliament. The remainder of the cases largely deal with slander and malpractice.