In Turkey / Türkiye

Today’s Zaman, March 4, 2016

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has submitted to the Prime Ministry a request for Parliament to remove the immunity from prosecution of the leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Selahattin Demirtas (L) and Figen Yüksekdag, co-leaders of Turkey's HDP party and members of Turkish Parliament

Selahattin Demirtas (L) and Figen Yüksekdag, co-leaders of Turkey’s HDP party and members of Turkish Parliament

The summary of proceedings submitted to the Prime Ministry targets HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag as well as deputies Selma Irmak, Sirri Süreyya Önder and Ertugrul Kürkçü. The Prime Ministry is expected to refer the document to Parliament later today.

The HDP is the third-largest political party in Parliament.

Speaking during a TV show on HaberTürk, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said there are hundreds of summary of proceedings that have been prepared so far against a total of 436 members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the HDP.

Bozdag said 40 of those summaries of proceedings have been prepared against the AK Party members, 49 against CHP members and 347 against HDP members.

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) parliamentary group Chairman Oktay Vural had applied to the Parliament Speaker’s Office to establish a joint commission to discuss issuing a summary of proceedings against pro-Kurdish lawmakers to lift their immunities.

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, Vural accused the HDP deputies of being linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), adding that counterterrorism efforts should include taking legal actions against those who aid and abet the terrorist organization.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for HDP deputies to face prosecution, accusing them of being an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group.

“Motions [to remove the immunity of HDP deputies] should not be let to rot on the shelves of Parliament. The necessary action must be taken,” Erdogan said in a speech on Feb. 24.

In December, Erdogan suggested that HDP Co-chairs Demirtas and Yüksekdag should be stripped of their parliamentary immunity, declaring their statements calling for autonomy in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast a “constitutional crime.”

“The statements of the two co-chairs are definitely a constitutional crime,” the president said in December, arguing that lifting their immunity “would positively affect the atmosphere” in the country regarding the fight against terrorism.

District mayor from pro-Kurdish party detained

Today’s Zaman, Friday, March 4, 2016

Emine Esmer, co-mayor from HDP party in city of Sirnak, eastern Turkey

Emine Esmer, co-mayor from HDP party in city of Sirnak, eastern Turkey

Emine Esmer, the co-mayor of Şırnak’s Silopi district, who was elected on the ticket of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was taken into custody by the police Friday morning, the Doğan news agency reported.Esmer was detained, along with her driver Cemal Yiğit, while she was at the mayoral building. Esmer and Yiğit were taken to a police station. While the cause of the detention remains unknown, the pair had been briefly apprehended in late February on a number of charges such as being a member of an outlawed organization, malpractice and enabling an outlawed organization to utilize public property. They had both been released pending trial by a court.



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