On the Ratification of Parliamentary Immunity Bill in Turkey

img_20151116_152354.jpgOn June 7th, 2016, President Erdoğan ratified the parliamentary bill to lift the legislative immunity of 138 MPs — an anti-Constitutional arrangement that specifically aims at excluding the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and its MPs from the democratic parliamentary process. The law was immediately published in the Official Gazette today; it is in effect as of June 8th.

Erdoğan’s timing of ratification is a clear reference to the elections of June 7, 2015. We view his timing as an ominous and vindictive message of taking revenge from HDP due to its electoral victory on June 7th a year ago, which prevented the Justice and Development Party (AKP) from forming a majority government and obstructed Erdoğan’s ambitions for a presidential system.

It is extremely crucial to also note that Erdoğan ratified the bill, after the place and position of 3,228 judges and prosecutors were changed by a decree on June 5th, 2016. We suspect that
Erdoğan ratified the bill only after making the necessary arrangements in the judiciary so that he could control the legal process regarding the prosecution of MPs with the help of judges
and prosecutors sympathetic to himself and the AKP.

According to official procedure, the parliament will return the summary proceedings about MPs to the courts in 15 days and prosecutors will start preparing indictments. Then, the
Prosecution will summon MPs to testify.
The HDP leadership has repeatedly stated that the lifting of parliamentary immunities is a political decision in clear violation of the Constitution; it has nothing to do with the law. That
is why HDP MPs will disregard the summons by the Prosecution: they will not go to the prosecutors’ offices with their free will to testify.

Hişyar ÖZSOY
Vice Co-chair of HDP in charge of Foreign Affairs
Member of Parliament

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