HDP co-chair, 27 other MPs face lifting of parliamentary immunity

Turkish prosecutors have drafted summaries of proceedings against 28 members of parliament including co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan seeking to lift their parliamentary immunity, Turkish Minute reported.

Twenty-five of the lawmakers are from the HDP, while three belong to other parties: Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) deputy Barış Atay Mengüllüoğlu, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chair Salihe Aydeniz.

The summaries of proceedings have been received by the parliament. If the legislature agrees to strip these lawmakers of their immunity, they can be prosecuted and tried in a court of law.

The prosecution of members of parliament has been possible since the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lent support to a 2016 proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution. The immunity of all deputies who faced prosecution at the time was lifted in May 2016.

The political and legal assault on the HDP, which intensified after a truce between Kurdish militants and the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan broke down in 2015, grew even stronger after Erdoğan survived a coup attempt in July 2016 that was followed by a sweeping political crackdown.

The party currently faces a closure case on charges of “attempting to destroy the indivisibility between the state and the people.”

Hundreds of HDP politicians, including the party’s former co-chairs, are behind bars on terrorism charges, while most of the 65 HDP mayors elected in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast in 2019 have been replaced by government-appointed trustees.

Selahattin Demirtaş, who co-led the HDP and twice ran for president, has been in prison since November 2016 due to multiple cases and remains behind bars despite a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights to release him. Former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ has also been in prison since 2016.

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