Two HDP lawmakers stripped of MP statuses
ANKARAPeoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers Faysal Sarıyıldız and Tuğba Hezer Öztürk have been stripped of their statuses as members of parliament in a parliamentary voting on the grounds that they failed to attend parliament for a long time.
The parliament voted for the dismissal of Sarıyıldız, a lawmaker for the southeastern province of Şırnak, and Öztürk, a lawmaker for the eastern province of Van, on July 27 for failing to attend five sessions of parliamentary proceedings in October, November and December 2016.
“You voted for the abolishment of two of our lawmakers’ seats in an unlawful, unjust and unfair manner. That would be a medal of honor for you,” HDP deputy group leader Filiz Kerestecioğlu said after the voting on July 27.
“We will continue to do politics in this country; we will continue to practice democratic politics. We are the deputies of the people. In the eyes of the people, our statuses as MPs can never be lifted whether you judge us or imprison us,” she added.
A parliamentary commission evaluating the dismissal of Sarıyıldız had referred a report to a plenary voting on July 21.
Sarıyıldız and Öztürk left Turkey in the wake of a parliamentary decision to remove lawmakers’ immunities in 2016 and have been abroad ever since.
After the immunities were lifted, hundreds of summary proceedings were issued against 50 HDP lawmakers in parliament, which led to 12 HDP lawmakers, including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, being imprisoned. Yüksekdağ was also stripped of her seat in parliament in February as she was being convicted on terror charges.
The Turkish constitution rules that a deputy can be removed from their status after failing to attend parliamentary sessions without any excuses or being absent for five sessions by a majority in parliament that has to make the decision within a month.
However, only in the case of dismissal because of absence, the lawmaker can appeal to the Constitutional Court for the decision to be annulled on the grounds that it is contrary to the constitution, law or the rules of procedure.
The Constitutional Court is obliged to make the final decision on the appeal within fifteen days.