Nationalist party deputy ‘offended’ by traffic check amid bill controversy

Nationalist party deputy ‘offended’ by traffic check amid bill controversy

Nationalist party deputy ‘offended’ by traffic check amid bill controversy

A Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy says that MP's privileges are necessary to “strengthen democracy.” DHA photo

A Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy has waded into the recent debate about increasing MPs’ perks, saying the privileges are necessary to “strengthen democracy” after he was subjected to offensive treatment by a traffic police officer in Kütahya.

“We were on our way to Kütahya when we were stopped by the police, and there were two of us deputies in the car. Our driver told him about us, [but the officer] asked for a license and registration in a commanding way. We were offended by his attitude; he could have been nicer to us,” Özcan Yeniçeri said, according to daily Hürriyet.

Yeniçeri said privileges should be given to lawmakers to “make them stronger” in order to “strengthen democracy.” The MP also spoke in favor of new health benefits for deputies that would make such treatment free for life for parliamentarians and their families even as the cost is set to double for normal citizens.

“Instead of giving such privileges to deputies, you should give that to your citizens, but you need to make deputies stronger as well. The lawmakers should feel strong in order to fulfill their duties. You cannot strengthen democracy without strengthening deputies.”

Lawmakers will be given immunity from traffic fines and a lifetime diplomatic passport, along with several other benefits, if a proposed bill is ratified by the Turkish Parliament.

All four parties have agreed on the proposal, which allows deputies to enjoy a wide range of benefits, including immunity from traffic fines and priority rights in traffic that are generally given to firefighters and ambulances.

The reaction has been mostly negative to the proposed changes, with opposition members expressing dissatisfaction with the proposal. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, however, recently dismissed the criticism, claiming criticism would soon fade away.

Arınç cited a previous social services regulation which was also heavily criticized in its day, saying, “Look, none of that criticisms remains today, which means that what is passed today and is being criticized today will surely be forgotten tomorrow.”