MPs scuffle in Turkish Parliament during voting of law on ‘night watchmen’
Selahattin Sönmez - ANKARA
Tension rose at the Turkish Parliament on June 9 while MPs were discussing a law proposal on “night watchmen” as lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ended up engaging in fisticuffs.
The CHP started a strike to slow down a voting session to protest the withdrawal of Istanbul MP Enis Berberoğlu’s parliamentary status.
The vote, which was supposed to last 45 minutes, prolonged for three and a half hours.
But after the session, parliament descended into unbridled tension as MPs began discussing the law proposal to enhance the powers of “night watchmen,” also known as neighborhood guards and who have been given powers to stop and search people, carry guns and use force whenever necessary.
CHP group deputy chair Özgür Özel accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of interrupting their speeches.
The quarrel between Özel and MPs of the MHP turned into a fistfight in a short time.
Olcay Kılavuz, a lawmaker from the MHP, punched Özel and Ulaş Karasu, another MP of the CHP.
The fight was defused only much later, when other lawmakers intervened and the law proposal has passed.