Turkey: Atalay loses immunity as member of parliament

Turkish human rights activist Can Atalay was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2022 for his role in the anti-government Gezi Park protests. In 2023 he was elected to parliament for the opposition party TIP. Following a legal dispute between the Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation, the judgment has now become final and the parliament has stripped Atalay of his mandate and immunity. The decision was read out in parliament amid boos from the opposition.

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Birgün (TR) /

Not the first time and not the last

The immunity of opposition MPs is constantly at risk in Turkey, comments Birgün:

“This is not the first time that the Turkish parliament has found itself in such a situation. ... The immunity of MPs has been lifted before, and their mandates revoked. Some of them have returned, others are still in prison, and many have had to leave the country. With Can Atalay, the curtain has been closed for the time being, until new MPs whose common denominator is their opposition to the AKP government are added to the list.”

Yetkin Report (TR) /

Separation of powers annulled

The principle of the rule of law no longer exists in Turkey, Yetkin Report rails:

“In a nutshell, politicians have come to power in Turkey and taken over strategic institutions of justice by appointing their own supporters to these institutions. ... This has given them enough power and resources to be able to openly violate the provisions of the constitution and made them untouchable by the judiciary. This has turned Turkey into a country that is no longer a constitutional state in the truest sense of the word, but one in which state power is divided among various centres of power through secret negotiations behind closed doors.”