Proceedings summary prepared to lift HDP co-chair’s immunity
AFP PhotoA summary of proceedings has been prepared to lift HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s immunity, as the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) deputy chair Süleyman Soylu filed a criminal complaint regarding Demirtaş’ May 2015 allegations that the AKP had been forming a “fraud team” ahead of the June 7 elections.
On May 17, during the run-up to the June 7 general elections, Demirtaş claimed the AKP was forming a “fraud team” of 3,500 people led by Süleyman Soylu.
In response to the allegations, Soylu turned to prosecution and submitted his complaint to Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara.
Following an investigation, the prosecutor’s office argued Demirtaş’s claims “exceeded the boundaries of free speech” and decided to demand the lifting the co-chair’s immunity.
A summary of proceedings was prepared and sent to the Ministry of Justice in order to be presented to the parliamentary speaker’s office.
When asked about the latest development, Demirtaş only commented, saying, “May it be beneficial for all,” (“Hayırlı olsun” in Turkish).
News of the prepared summary arrived less than a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the parliament to strip HDP lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution, in order to have them “pay the price” for allegedly having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Demirtaş responded to Erdoğan’s statements by saying all 80 deputies from his party will submit petitions to the parliament to have their immunity lifted and challenged AKP members to do the same.
“Are you in? Let’s strip [our] immunity altogether if you are not afraid of it,” he said.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has also submitted a motion in the Turkish parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of its 80 parliamentarians.
The HDP submitted the motion on July 29 following allegations that the party is acting in concert with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Parliament must strip the immunity from prosecution of HDP lawmakers and make them “pay the price” for links to “terrorist groups,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said July 28.
“Those who exploit the people and the state’s tolerance and patience will receive the answer they deserve as soon as possible. Any step back is out of the question. This is a process, and this process will continue with the same determination,” he said prior to a visit to China.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli suggested July 28 that HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş should be investigated by Turkish courts over his apparent failure to condemn PKK violence.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had also urged the HDP to “act like a political party and cut ties with the terrorist PKK.”
Under Turkish law, members of parliament have immunity from prosecution.
The HDP petition was signed by all of its 80 deputies, party sources said.
Demirtaş had announced his party’s unusual move to lift the immunity on July 28.
“With my 80 friends, we will submit a petition to the parliament to lift our immunity,” he said. “If you are not afraid, let’s lift immunities altogether.”