Turkish Parliament receives proceedings against 20 more opposition MPs

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The Turkish Parliament on Friday received a total of 22 summaries of proceedings to remove the parliamentary immunity of 20 opposition lawmakers — 10 MPs from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and 10 from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) — the pro-government Yeni Akit daily reported.

The proceedings against the opposition deputies are based on charges that include “insulting the president,” “slander” and “inciting hatred and enmity among the public.”

The 10 CHP deputies who face removal of their immunity from prosecution are Orhan Sarıbal, Lale Karabıyık, Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz, Bülent Kuşoğlu, Seyit Torun, Onursal Adıgüzel, Gülizar Biçer Karaca, Yıldırım Kaya, Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi and Aykut Erdoğdu.

Sezai Temelli, Semra Güzel, Murat Çepni, Dersim Dağ, Tulay Hatımoğulları Oruç, Hüda Kaya, Murat Sarısaç, Saruhan Oluç, Feleknas Uca and Pero Dündar are the HDP lawmakers about whom the parliament received 12 proceedings in total, Yeni Akit said.

Earlier this week, the parliament also received proceedings against 10 opposition lawmakers, including CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and CHP lawmakers Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, Muharrem Erkek, Yunus Emre, Veli Ağbaba, Fethi Açıkel and Faik Öztrak as well as HDP lawmakers Ayşe Acar Başaran and Kemal Bülbül.

The Anka news agency reported on Thursday that Wednesday’s proceedings against eight CHP members were drafted as part of an investigation by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into Kılıçdaroğlu and 17 members of the CHP’s Central Executive Board (MYK) due to a CHP-produced booklet titled “The Political Wing of FETÖ in 21 Questions.”

The booklet details an alleged political wing of the faith-based Gülen movement, which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has labeled a terrorist organization and which it accuses of having orchestrated a coup attempt in July 2016.

FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement, which is inspired by the teachings of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

In late January, an Ankara court accepted an indictment accusing CHP vice-chair Gökçe Gökçen of libeling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a result of the booklet. Gökçen, who is accused of violating Articles 267 and 310 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which stipulate punishment for “libel” and “character assassination of the president,” respectively, faces five years behind bars.

If parliament votes to strip the CHP and HDP deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts.

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 AKP on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution.

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