Turkish Justice Ministry calls to lift immunity of HDP deputies

Turkish Justice Ministry calls for lifting immunity of HDP deputies over their alleged affiliation with PKK terrorist group

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag are seen in the file photo.

Turkish Justice Ministry has sent to the prime minister's office a request for parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) leaders and three other deputies over their alleged affiliation with terrorist organisation PKK on Friday.

HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and party deputies Selma Irmak, Sirri Sureyya Onder and Ertugrul Kurkcu were reportedly mentioned in the request.

Members of parliament in Turkey have immunity from prosecution.

The request was sent following serious accusations regarding HDP members’ alleged ties with terrorist organisation PKK and their autonomy calls in Turkey’s southeastern provinces.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern and eastern regions by the PKK which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, NATO, and the EU.

More than 300 security officers have died in PKK terror attacks in Turkey since the group’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two-and-a-half-year-long ceasefire with the government in July and threatened Turkey with further attacks

The opposition nationalist MHP asked parliament on Thursday to discuss the requests to lift the immunity of MPs as part of the fight against terrorism.

Demirtas alone is the subject of some 60 dossiers in parliament that call for lifting of his immunity, including some related to his calls for street protests, but there have been no moves in the assembly to open the way for his prosecution as yet.

President Erdogan has repeatedly called for MPs from the party to face prosecution, accusing them of acting like an extension of the PKK .

The president slammed one HDP deputy in particular who visited the family of a suicide bomber who killed 29 people in a terrorist attack in Ankara on February 17 to offer her condolences.

The Feb. 17 blast, which targeted military buses in central Ankara, also left at least 81 others wounded.

"Nowhere in the world you can see a politician, a political party or a lawmaker backing suicide bombers targeting civilians," he said, and called on the parliament to take the necessary action regarding the recently submitted motions to strip the HDP lawmakers of their political immunity.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said on Wednesday lawmakers from the opposition HDP had sought to collaborate with PKK "terrorists" and drag Turkey into chaos.

"He [HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas] continues to make provocative statements in Sur, Diyarbakir. For God's sake, have you heard them saying 'why do you stain our politics by taking guns in your hands?’" said Davutoglu.

"They don't want to have peace, on the contrary they want to drag Turkey into chaos by cooperating with terrorists. We will not allow that," he declared.

TRTWorld and agencies