Parliament commission mulls lifting immunity of MP accused of rape
A Turkish Parliament commission has met to discuss lifting the parliamentary immunity of MP Tuma Çelik, who has already been dismissed from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), after a woman accused him of raping her.
The commission consists of five lawmakers looking into the case on whether Çelik should be stripped of his immunity.
The MP will be asked to give a written and oral defense, as the commission will finalize its decision in a report to be given to the parliament’s justice panel in a month.
The panel will then decide whether to lift his immunity or postpone the decision until the next term.
Separately, MPs from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the HDP got involved in a verbal skirmish over alleged negligence by the HDP against the allegations.
Lawmakers from the AKP accused the HDP of having covered up the allegations.
“You tried to silence the rape victim,” shouted some AKP MPs across parliament, addressing HDP MP Hüda Kaya.
“I do not know the woman [rape survivor]. I heard about the allegations amid the outbreak and reacted strongly,” said Kaya in a speech in parliament, denying the claims.
“The victim first approached the HDP’s women lawmakers about what Tuma Çelik has done to her. But no one cared. She even had difficulties finding a lawyer to defend her,” Özlem Zengin, group deputy chair of the AKP, said.
The HDP has already expelled Çelik, who represents the southeastern province of Mardin.
Even though Tuma Çelik resigned from the party, we dismissed him… This is a societal problem,” said HDP group deputy chair Saruhan Oluç.