05/21/2016, 10.17
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Turkey: first step towards removal of Parliamentary immunity

Parliament approves a first amendment of the Constitution that allows pro-Kurdish opposition deputies to be legally pursued. This will pave the way for an avalanche of procedures against parliamentarians who are not aligned with the Erdogan regime. The Head of State wants to transform the country from parliamentary to presidential, further centralizing power.

Ankara (AsiaNews) - The Turkish Parliament has adopted the first article of a draft law amending the Constitution to suspend parliamentary immunity for elected representatives in case of judicial processes. This vote is likely to further accentuate the already acute tensions between Kurdish activists and the central power.

This bill is wanted by President Rajab Tayyeb Erdogan. According to many analysts, it will be used as a weapon against his political opponents in other parties and will allow him to legally pursue some parliamentary pro-Kurdish opposition.

The amendment was adopted with 373 votes out of 550, surpassing the quota of 367 votes needed to pass the law. Proposed by 316 members of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party block (AKP), it was also supported by the 40 elected members of the National Movement Party (MHP); on the contrary, as expected, the CHP deputies voted against.

This first step towards the amendment of an article of the Constitution is also seen as a dress rehearsal for other changes, in order to transform the Turkish Republic from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential regime. This is Erdogan’s ultimate goal, to concentrate as much power as possible in his hands. Yesterday two other norms in addition to this article were also voted on.

Now the focus is shifting to the country's courts, where it is expected many cases mainly against the deputies of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) for crimes of "terrorism" or "inciting violence" will be opened. These charges hide the fact that these politicians are critical of the army, who have been destroying entire cities for months and sowing death and terror against women, children and elderly civilians, whose only crime is that they are Kurds.

It would seem that 20 deputies of the CHP voted in favor in the second round only to prevent the referendum that was likely to threaten social order. This is according to CHP deputy Özgür Özel, who has confessed that his party was not unanimous in their vote  group and that there was no “party vote” demanded by the CHP.

After approval by the President and publication in the Official Journal, it is thought that the suspended court cases and / or those not yet open will multiply over the next 15 days: there are already more than 200 files opened for crimes related to "terrorism" or offenses " related to terrorism ", with a group of 200 attorneys ready to determine the files and classify them according to the charges and evidence gathered against them.

The penalty upon conviction, against Members of the three opposition political parties, is one year of imprisonment and expulsion from public life, in short politics.

Interestingly, the number of legal cases pending against the leading figures of the country to make themselves into account the relevance of this important political weapon in the hands of Erdogan's party. There are 41 cases opened against Kemal kılıcdaoğlum; those suspended 41, others against the Secretary General of the MHP, the charismatic Kurdish Selahattin Demirtaş; nine cases against Devlet Bahçeli.

Of course no case pending against the President of the Republic, his son and his son in law, let alone against the new secretary of the AKP Party, Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım. Also nothing against the outgoing Premier Ahmet Davutoğlu. (PB)

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