Turkish prosecutor demands revocation of immunity of 15 opposition deputies

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded the revocation of the immunity from prosecution of 15 deputies from opposition parties on accusations of disseminating terrorist propaganda and insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

The prosecutor’s demand was sent to the Justice Ministry for submission to the Parliament Speaker’s Office. If the parliament votes to revoke the deputies’ immunity, they can be arrested by local courts.

Among the 15 deputies, 12 of them are from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who were the subject of prosecution for disseminating terrorist propaganda due to their criticism of the Turkish army offensive in the north Syrian town of Afrin.

Afrin was previously run by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a militia that is considered by Turkish authorities to be affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The other three are from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), whose remarks were considered insults of President Erdoğan. Thousands of Turkish citizens, including former deputies, have been punished by the courts on that charge.

The Turkish government accuses HDP politicians of harboring sympathies for and acting in the interest of the PKK and has carried out a crackdown on the HDP since a July 2016 coup attempt that intensified as Turkey headed to the polls in the June presidential and parliamentary elections.

According to the HDP, over 10,000 of its members are in jail, along with nine parliamentary deputies, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, and about 100 elected mayors.

Demirtaş, detained for two years now on accusations of terrorism and separatism, ran against Erdoğan in the June 24 presidential election, garnering 8,4 percent of the vote from behind bars and with almost zero coverage from the mainstream media. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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