Turkey submits proposal to strip pro-Kurdish MPs of immunity
Co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas waving as Kurds gather for Noruz celebrations in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey. Demirtas criticised the German government's dealings with the Turkish government on April 12, 2016. (AFP/File)
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The Turkish government on Tuesday submitted the first draft of a proposal to parliament that would strip some lawmarkers of immunity from prosecution, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The proposal, submitted as part of efforts to "combat terrorism"' is seen by critics as a move largely targeting the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP). All 316 of Erdogan's ruling AK Party (AKP) signed on to the proposal.
“Last week, we opened our constitutional amendment proposal to signatures for the process regarding the immunities of so-called lawmakers who lend support to terror and terrorists." Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday. "Everything will come into sight very clearly. It will be shown who is afraid of lifting of their immunities and who is not.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for HDP deputies to face prosecution, accusing them of being a front for the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).
Turkish forces have been involved in an intense campaign in the largely Kurdish southeast of the country aimed at routing out PKK militants. HDP deputies have criticized the operations, saying security forces are targeting civilians.
The reignited conflict triggered calls to prosecute politicians accused of having ties to the PKK, with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) requesting parliament to discuss lifting the immunities of deputies.
The HDP, the third largest party in the parliament, currently holds 59 seats.