Three MPs sent to hospital after violent altercation following handcuff protest
DHA photoThree lawmakers were hospitalized late on Jan. 19 following a brawl between women lawmakers that erupted after independent lawmaker Aylin Nazlıaka handcuffed herself to the lectern in a protest amid the passage of four critical items in an 18-article amendment regulating the duties and authorities of the president.
“I wanted to speak out to MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] lawmakers by using my democratic right to protest. I suggested that they could go down in history by saying ‘no’ to this charter,” Nazlıaka said Jan. 19 following the physical altercation between ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition female lawmakers that occurred after she handcuffed herself to the lectern to protest the constitutional amendment.
“The eighth item was to be voted on. It was a very critical item. After completing the speeches after both proposals, I wanted to give a message to the nation by handcuffing myself to the parliamentary lectern. It also represents how the parliament has been handcuffed. While the door of the parliament has been chained, it is important that we have chained ourselves,” she said, stating that reaching MHP lawmakers, who have allied with the AKP on the charter, was the primary motive for her protest.
After Nazlıaka handcuffed herself, women AKP lawmakers approached Nazlıaka in an attempt to remove the handcuffs, prompting a physical altercation. During the brawl, Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers Şafak Pavey, Burcu Çelik Özkan and Melike Basmacı, People’s Democracy Party (HDP) lawmaker Pervin Buldan and AKP lawmaker Gökçen Özdoğan Enç, as well as Nazlıaka, were wounded. Pavey was hospitalized after her prosthetic leg was damaged while Buldan was hospitalized due to a blow to her chest that caused arrhythmia. Enç was also taken to hospital for injuries.
“I was next to the lectern. The AKP’s Enç attempted to hit me. Özkan interrupted that attempt. They [the AKP lawmakers] pulled her [Özkan’s] hair. Enç pushed me, I fell on the floor. [The AKP lawmakers] all attacked us, blinded with anger,” Pavey told online news site Diken on Jan. 19, adding that her prosthetic was damaged during the altercations.
The HDP women’s group conducted a press conference in the aftermath of the violent altercations.
“Masculine language and masculine violence, which is kept alive by male counterparts, is, unfortunately, alive today due to female deputies. This behavior, especially toward our deputy president [Buldan], and this violence is unacceptable. We will not permit violence in this parliament,” Filiz Kerestecioğlu, the deputy group chairperson of the HDP, said on behalf of the HDP’s women’s group, slamming the AKP lawmakers’ move against Nazlıaka.
Four more items passed in midst of brawl
Although the violent brawl prolonged the process, the lawmakers continued to vote on the items of the constitutional charters after the events.
Lawmakers agreed on four more items, including Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the constitutional amendment in sessions late on Jan. 19 and early on Jan. 20.
Article 8, which regulates the duties and authorities of the president, passed with 339 votes.
Article 9, which covers the framework of the accountability of the president passed with 341 votes while Article 10, which regulates the president’s authority to appoint vice presidents and re-election procedures, passed with 340 votes.
Article 11, which gives the president the authority to annul the parliament, passed with 342 votes.
The lawmakers will continue to vote on the remaining seven items on Jan. 20 while AKP lawmakers plan to finalize the voting by Jan. 21.