Turkey’s parliament and terror

Turkey’s parliament and terror

The fist fight that occurred in the parliamentary commission while the constitutional amendment on immunities was being discussed on April 28 is alarming. It is an indication of the dimensions to which the tension has climbed. 

Although Turkey needs substantial developments to calm the country and decrease the tension, we are incidents that constantly escalate tension. The attempt to lift the immunities of some MPs is the latest example of this, prompting one of the biggest fist fights in the history of our parliament.

Claiming that “we are lifting experiencing all immunities” is nothing but political make-up. It is apparent that the real aim of the move is to take certain Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies to court and put them in front of the judge. 

548 files 

The lifting of the immunities of HDP deputies was brought to the agenda by the president in December. When the opposition, with reference to the corruption files, said “all parliamentary immunities should be lifted,” the prime minister responded by suggesting the lifting of immunities for the 548 files pending for MPs. 

Since these files cannot be dealt with one by one, a formula involving a provisional clause for the constitution was found. 

Devious paths have been taken to lift the immunities of the HDP deputies. Moreover, the provisional clause formula does not address the corruption claims; it simply lifts the immunity of opposition leaders while not touching the sensitive matters of the government. 

The prime minister’s words 

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is able to see that lifting HDP deputies’ immunities would cause negative political results and damage Turkey’s international reputation. “The legislative body is opening the path of the justice. I believe justice will protect the sensitivities in terms of Turkey’s image,” he said on April 21. 

What does this mean? It means that the immunities of HDP deputies will be lifted but courts should try them without arresting them. 

But the HDP MPs have already declared that they will not go to court to give their statements. So will they be taken by force? 

So why are the immunities being lifted? Will any detained MP not gain immunity again by being re-elected in the next elections? 

It should be remembered that during elections - especially if there are snap elections to be held - the government will be able to say “We have handed the terrorists in parliament over to justice.”

During the peace process speeches were delivered hoping to snatch votes from the HDP grassroots. Now the strategy is to snatch votes from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) grassroots. 

Who would benefit? 

So will the lifting of immunities be useful in fighting terror? 

In March 1994, the immunities of deputies of the political Kurdish movement were lifted. The fight against terror in 1994 was no less determined than today. Also at that time, it was said, “We are removing the extensions of terror in parliament.” (March 3, 1994)  

However, this move actually shook Turkey’s image abroad, with the Kurdish movement benefiting from the situation. Domestically, the grassroots of the PKK widened. 

Our 9th president, the late Süleyman Demirel, later said he “could not stop them from being jailed,” explaining how Turkey was harmed because of that move back in 1994. 

The recent fight in parliament is an example of how the lifting of immunities is not a deterrent, but rather a provocative step.

Fighting terrorism and the current military operations being carried out are justified. We even were late in conducting them. It was wrong to tolerate the PKK so much during the peace process. 

But today, lifting the immunities of MPs with provisional clauses in this way is wrong.