Turkish government, opposition to agree against Kurds

Kurdish lawmakers say the new proposal in Turkey to strip immunity from members of parliament is targeting them.

ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan24) – Kurdish lawmakers say the new proposal in Turkey to strip immunity from members of parliament is targeting them. 

On Thursday, Turkey’s main opposition party declared its support for the government’s bid to remove the persecution immunity from MPs.

The draft law was proposed on Tuesday and gained the support of all the 316 ruling AK Party lawmakers, excluding the speaker who is not eligible to vote.

Speaking to Kurdistan24, Idris Baluken, a senior figure in the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and its top candidate in Diyarbakir, said, “The ruling party [of Turkey] targets us [HDP] by lifting the immunity on the MPs, and at the same time it [AK Party] contradicts its claim of seeking democracy.”

Furthermore, Turkey's main opposition, Republican's People Party (CHP), which has 133 seats, declared its support for the proposed lift, so the draft law could easily win the required 367 votes in the 550-seat assembly.

CHP leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, told CNN Turk that his party would support the proposal despite it being, in his opinion, anti-constitutional.

In response to CHP’s support for the bill of lifting the immunity, the HDP criticized the CHP's decision to side with the government.

HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen told Reuters on Thursday, "Kilicdaroglu taking this decision means throwing a lifebelt to the AKP and [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu.”

The HDP has criticized Turkey's large-scale security operations in its mainly Kurdish southeast, where violence has surged since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire with the PKK last summer.

Regarding the reason for proposing the bill by the government and the opposition’s support, Reuters reported that the HDP criticism has fueled Turkish nationalist calls to prosecute politicians seen as close to the PKK, which is listed as a “terrorist” organization by Turkey and its Western allies.

President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for members of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) to face prosecution, accusing them of being an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

On March 4, Turkey's justice ministry submitted a request to the parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of the leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).


Reporting by Hisham Arafat

Editing by Ava Homa