Parliament to discuss lifting HDP deputies’ immunity after budget discussions: Turkish PM

Parliament to discuss lifting HDP deputies’ immunity after budget discussions: Turkish PM

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Parliament to discuss lifting HDP deputies’ immunity after budget discussions: Turkish PM

AA Photo

Turkish parliament is set to discuss lifting the immunities of some Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, including party co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, after completion of budget discussions, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced.

“We will evaluate all these [the summaries of proceedings] with our parliament speaker and, if need be, with representatives from other political parties, after the budget [discussions],” Davutoğlu said in an interview on A Haber. The PM added that requesting parliament to lift deputy immunities may “seem like a new practice,” but the method is in fact “routine.”

Davutoğlu mostly discussed HDP Van deputy Tuğba Hezer, who created outrage Feb. 23 by visiting the commemoration of Abdülbaki Sömer – the Ankara suicide bomber who caused the deaths of at least 29 people in a deadly Feb. 17 attack against military personnel shuttles at the heart of the Turkish capital. 

Suggesting that Hezer’s action challenged the “parliament’s honor,” Davutoğlu claimed that some “reasonable and conscientious” HDP deputies did not approve of Hezer’s visit either. 

“It is out of the question for the parliament to excuse an attitude that praises such a villain; not as a human being or as a member of parliament,” the prime minister said.

Davutoğlu also said that a framework needs to be created regarding immunities. Arguing that he personally supports freedom of expression for any deputy holding any opinion, Davutoğlu said he nevertheless cannot perceive the “visit to the commemoration of a villain” as something that falls under parliamentary immunities. 

The prime minister added that although a legal process will be launched with respect to such incidents, “discrediting Turkey’s reputation as a democratic state of law” will be out of the question. 

An investigation was launched into Hezer’s visit to the commemoration by the Van Chief Prosecutor’s Office. 
Another investigation was launched against Hezer for her speech delivered on Feb. 15 following a march that took place on the 17th anniversary of the capture of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK. 

Meanwhile, the Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office drafted summaries of proceedings for HDP co-chairs Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ along with HDP deputies Selma Irmak, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Ertuğrul Kürkçü for their autonomy remarks at a meeting Diyarbakır late December 2015 and sent them to the Justice Ministry. The ministry later sent them to the Prime Ministry, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 4. 

Demirtaş alone is the subject to some 60 dossiers in parliament calling for the lifting of his immunity, including some related to his calls for street protests, but as yet there have been no moves in the assembly to open the way for his prosecution.