A Turkish prosecutor has filed a summary of proceedings for an opposition lawmaker that may cause him to lose his parliamentary immunity, accusing him of insulting the Turkish military in remarks critical of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), Turkish Minute reported on Wednesday, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office filed the proceedings for main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, also a lawyer and a human rights activist, at the Justice Ministry, seeking the ministry’s permission to investigate the lawmaker.
If the ministry allows an investigation into Tanrıkulu, he will be probed on accusations of insulting the Turkish military under the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which requires a prison sentence of up to two years.
Tanrıkulu, during a program on TV100 on Sept. 8, criticized the TSK due to its alleged involvement in a series of controversial actions and not taking any responsibility for their consequences.
“Not everything the TSK does is immune to criticism. We are members of parliament, we question these matters,” Tanrıkulu said, referring to the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, an attempted coup on July 15, 2016, politically motivated and unsolved murders in the 1980s and 1990s and the Roboski massacre, when 34 Kurdish civilians were bombed by Turkish military jets after they were mistaken for militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the Turkish–Iraqi border in 2011.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
Tanrıkulu attracted harsh criticism from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the lawmaker’s “cowardly insults and allegations” against the TSK would not go unpunished, while the Defense Ministry strongly denied the lawmaker’s allegations, saying they were “entirely baseless and devoid of truth.”
Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç also hinted earlier this week that Tanrıkulu’s parliamentary immunity could be lifted.
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 was lifted in May 2016.