Turkey Strips Immunity From Lawmakers, Clears Way For Trials | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Turkey Strips Immunity From Lawmakers, Clears Way For Trials

Posted: May 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Turkish lawmakers on Friday approved a bill to amend the constitution to strip them of immunity, a move that paves the way for the trials of several pro-Kurdish and other legislators.

When parliament convened in Ankara, 376 deputies in the 550-seat assembly voted in favor of the government-backed bill, which was enough to avoid a referendum. It now needs to be ratified by the president.
The amendment was proposed by the Justice and Development Party after the president accused the pro-Kurdish party, People’s Democratic Party, HDP, of being an arm of the outlawed Kurdish rebels and repeatedly called for their prosecution on terror related charges. It puts 138 lawmakers, the vast majority of them from two opposition parties, at risk of prosecution.
Speaking in the Black Sea town of Rize moments ahead of the final round of voting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope for a favorable outcome saying “my people don’t want to see criminal deputies in parliament.”
The decision coincides with a wave of violence in Turkey’s southeast following the collapse of a more than 2-year peace process between the state and the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK.
The HDP, which backs Kurdish and other minority rights, denies accusations that it is the political arm of the PKK, considered a terrorist group by Ankara and its allies. The party has urged the government to end security operations in the southeast and to resume peace efforts.