A vocal critic of his own party, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Muharrem İnce said on Wednesday that CHP deputies will be jailed just like Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, whose immunity from prosecution was removed by Parliament last year with the support of the CHP.
In an interview with the Sözcü daily, CHP Yalova deputy İnce said it was a mistake for the CHP to have supported lifting the immunity of the pro-Kurdish HDP deputies and that in the future, CHP deputies will be jailed, too.
“How could you eliminate immunity in such a climate in which the judiciary has become subservient to the government?” İnce asked, adding that CHP deputies will also be targeted given the trend in the country.
Shortly before the lifting of immunity, in April 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had told lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish HDP that they would eventually lose their parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
“You will eventually be affected. I welcome the recent compromise [among parties on a bill to lift parliamentary immunity]. The parliamentary process on this issue will start next week. All [judicial] cases [which are on hold due to the immunity of deputies] will be forwarded to the judicial authorities,” Erdoğan said, referring to some HDP deputies who are accused of having links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The main opposition CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing the immunity deputies from prosecution.
The immunity of all deputies who face probes was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 HDP deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links.
In the interview, CHP deputy İnce also criticized the opposition MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli’s support for an executive presidency.
İnce said that Bahçeli has either been bribed or threatened, is bereft of principles or is lending support to Erdoğan for unknown reasons.
İnce also noted that the proposed constitutional amendments that aim to officially establish an executive presidency in the country will impose a one-man rule in which President Erdoğan will dominate all spheres of power.
Drawing parallels between Erdoğan and the president of Gambia, who recently refused to leave office after losing the elections, İnce said that Erdoğan is no different than the Gambian ruler.