PM Erdoğan signals end to immunity of BDP MPs

PM Erdoğan signals end to immunity of BDP MPs

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan signals end to immunity of BDP MPs

If the members of Kurdish-issue-focused BDP MPs will struggle within the Parliament, they must act within the framework of the Constitution and law, says Erdoğan. AFP photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday gave a strong signal that his government favors the annulment of the parliamentary immunity of a group of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers whom he accused of openly promoting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by hugging PKK militants who were blocking a road near Şemdinli last month.

“If they [the BDP lawmakers] are looking for a more comfortable place, I will give them an address: They can go to Kandil [Mountain, where the PKK is based]. But if they want to work within this Parliament, they must act within the framework of the Constitution and the law. Otherwise, we’ve already told the judiciary what is necessary; the judiciary is doing what is necessary. We will also do what is necessary in Parliament,” Erdoğan said, as part of a lengthy speech delivered at an extended group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the party’s headquarters.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has suggested limiting the immunity of some BDP lawmakers who were photographed hugging PKK members while coming from a party meeting near Şemdinli last month. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Sept. 3 that MHP’s proposal could create legal loop holes. “[If adopted], MHP’s proposal for limiting the immunity in regards to terror crimes directly releases the deputies currently under arrest.” Bozdağ elaborated.

Criticism of the CHP

Erdoğan also slammed BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who had earlier said the PKK controls an approximately 400 kilometer-square region in southeastern Anatolia, saying that the BDP deputies are on a par with terrorists. Describing Demirtaş as “co-chair of an extension of the divisive terrorist organization,” Erdoğan said: “If he was not barefaced, he would go to Kandil Mountain. You’re not a representative of this nation; how could you have taken oath in this Parliament?”

Erdoğan also accused the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of supporting terrorism. “The opposition parties have assisted terrorism, either on purpose or inadvertently. Some opposition parties act with the mentality that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also had strong language for the CHP in reference to kidnapped Hakkari AKP provincial head Mecit Tarhan. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Sept. 4 said that Tarhan’s brother called him to ask for help after PKK militants kidnapped the AKP official. Tarhan’s family denied that they asked help from Kılıçdaroğlu, Erdoğan said, quoting the family as saying “Is it possible for us to ask for help from the CHP, who held a rally in Hakkari together with the BDP and the terrorist organization?” “There’s
another side to this story. You [the CHP] are no different from the party which is a political extension [the BDP, of the PKK]. That means you work together with those in the mountains [the PKK militants]. ‘If you need help, we can offer a hand,’ you say. You already work hand-in-hand with the Baath party in Syria; there is no difference. As for this incident, the political extension of the terrorist organization says the same thing: ‘If there’s a need, we can step in. We can meet with those in the mountains and take whoever is needed,’ they say,” Erdoğan said.