Parliament in Ankara lifts immunity of MPs

The Turkish parliament has revoked the immunity of 130 MPs. The country had made a "breathtaking departure from European values" European Parliament President Martin Schulz said. Pro-government media reject such criticism.

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Daily Sabah (TR) /

EU should get to know Turkey first

Daily Sabah is annoyed at the international criticism of the Turkish parliament's decision to revoke many MPs' immunity:

“It is true that most of those deputies are from the HDP, since many deputies from this party were caught in the act while committing offences under the command of the PKK. ... The Turkish public is pleased by Parliament's decision to lift the immunity since terrorism is causing suffering and turmoil across the country. However, a scandalous reaction to the decision has been shown by some members of the European Parliament and some figures in charge of the EU, who are not living in Turkey and are not threatened by the PKK's terrorism. ... You should try to know Turkey, instead of defaming it. Otherwise, the Turkish people will believe that you are deliberately turning a blind eye to Turkey's concerns. ... And in such a case, the EU will be the losing party.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Ankara lynching campaigners for peace

The move to strip MPs of the pro-Kurdish HDP of their immunity against prosecution will further crush any hopes of a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict, the oppositional newspaper Cumhuriyet fears:

“What consequences will the lynching of 59 legally elected MPs who chose a peaceful path and tried to resolve the problems by following the rules have? Not just among the families, acquaintances and social circles of the HDP MPs, but also among their voters, there are many who have opted for the PKK, or in other words for armed resistance. And not just a few hundred or a few thousand but tens of thousands. … What good can it do to attempt to integrate these 59 MPs among these tens of thousands? To force them to leave the legitimate paths? … Throwing the 59 HDP members out of parliament is the last thing that should be done in this situation.”

Spiegel Online (DE) /

Turkey turning into dictatorship as Europe watches

The move to lift the immunity of pro-Kurdish politicians so that they can be prosecuted is aimed at clearing the way for the ruling AKP party to gain more parliamentary seats and push through changes to the constitution, Spiegel Online is convinced, warning that this renders the idea of closer ties with Turkey obsolete:

“It is doubtful that even a completely unromantic, pragmatic policy on the part of Germany and the EU can still justify cooperation with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's regime. Because it's quite obvious that closer ties won't change Erdoğan's behaviour. He sees all concessions by the Europeans as a carte blanche to force through his own interests even more ruthlessly. If the Turkish parliament strips itself of its powers today it will have overstepped the final limit beyond which Europe will be making itself complicit if it continues to stand by and watch with polite restraint as Turkey is turned into a dictatorship.”

Sözcü (TR) /

Steering directly toward a presidential system

President Erdoğan wants to expel the pro-Kurdish HDP from parliament and clear the way for a presidential system, the Kemalist daily Sözcü warns:

“The government that lost its majority in the elections of 7 June 2015 and - in order to regain it - has ignited the spark of terror is now planning as a final step to expel the HDP from parliament. It wants to put the HDP in a tight spot and garner support for the presidential system. ... If a referendum were held on immunity, it would no doubt be passed by a large majority. Because not everyone knows what immunity is, and the slogan 'We're getting rid of the terrorists' would no doubt be just as effective with the opposition as with the government. But the real topic that the presidential palace wants to put to referendum is the presidential system: for that reason it will want to have the referendum on immunity also decide the question of the presidential system.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Referendum would mobilise Kurds

A referendum on lifting immunity particularly for HDP members of parliament could further inflame the conflict with the Kurds, Milliyet warns:

“The whole situation threatens to get out of control, which would be dangerous for the ruling party in particular, but also for all Turkey. It would put further strain on people's nerves, which are already on edge. The situation could turn into a 'Kurdish question'. And when the mood is already heated, democratic instruments, such as the referendum provided for in the constitution, could serve the interests of separatist rhetoric and politics. Provocations could also come from abroad. The danger is great that this plebiscite could be presented as an intrigue against the Kurds.”

More opinions

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) / 23 May 2016
  Immunity move won't just weaken Kurdish opposition