Five more Turkish MPs risk being stripped of their status as lawmakers

nsnbc : Five lawmakers in the Turkish parliament, who are members of the opposition HDP and CHP, are facing the risk of being stripped of their status os members of parliament, including their immunity in the new legislative year, staring October 1.

Turkey_Sep 2017_5 more HDP and CHP MPs face dismissal from parliamentAffected are Abdullah Zeydan, Besime Konca and Çaglar Demirel from the leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and Enis Berberoglu from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Their cases are pending in court amid their appeals.

All five legally elected lawmakers risk losing their seats in parliament. Leyla Zana from the HDP also may face dismissal for failing to attend parliamentary sessions.

In the previous legislative year, four lawmakers had been stripped of their seats in parliament. HDP lawmakers began facing prosecution after their parliamentary immunities were lifted in March 2016.

Figen Yükesdag

Figen Yükesdag

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-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and former co-chair Figen Yüksekdag, being imprisoned. Yüksekdag was stripped of her seat in parliament in February as she was being convicted on trumped-up terror charges for alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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, which has to make the decision within a month.

However, only in the case of dismissal over absenteeism, 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 15 days.

The stripping of MPs status and immunity began after the “failed” military coup last year. Turkey’s Islamist AKP government blamed the self-exiled, U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gülen and Gülenist networks for the failed coup.

Stockholm Center for Freedom_SCF_Stockholm_Sweden_Turkey_2016 coup in TurkeyGülen denies any involvement. Several experts have pointed at evidence that strongly suggests that pro-Gülenist soldiers were led to conduct a coup that was deemed to fail from the start. Turkey’s intelligence service MIT and AKP leaders were linked to the plot.

The “failed coup” and the stripping of lawmakers immunity, as well as emergency laws and a crackdown on the press contributed significantly to the approval of constitutional change in a referendum that was held under emergency law. The referendum introduced an executive presidential system that centralizes powers in the presidency and renders parliament about as powerful as Iran’s rubber-stamp parliament.

CH/L – nsnbc 05.09.2017

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