Dozens of Turkish MPs to lose immunity, many face charges and investigations

As the Turkish elections loom at the end of March, Parliament has received presidential notes on lifting the immunity of twenty-one lawmakers.

Among those that may lose immunity are Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of main opposition party CHP and Ayhan Bilgen deputy of pro-Kurdish party HDP

The state-run agency, Anadolu Agency, reports that there are thirty-six dossiers subject to presidential notes. Two of these are for CHP deputy Veli Agbaba and HDP MP Remziye Tosun, who has most at five dossiers filed against her.

One of the main opposition parties, the HDP, has most investigations against it with sixteen MPs facing these. The CHP has four while the IYI only has one. Our of the thirty-six dossiers, thirty of these are filed against HDP MPs. The AKP and MHP MPs are the only ones without dossiers filed against them.

In 2016, during the previous parliamentary term, parliament’s general assembly voted on a bill to remove the immunity of 112 Members of Parliament in relation to over 500 dossiers.

Forty-one HDP MPs, thirty-three CHP MPs, twenty-two AKP MPs and six MHP MPs were subject to losing their parliamentary immunity due to the draft.

Two hundred and seventy-eight of the dossiers were filed for HDP and forty-one of its total fifty-three lawmakers were affected by the draft.

After this, Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP’s former leader was among the nine MPs of his party who faced various charges.

Demirtas’ dossiers totalled fifty-seven –  he was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison in September 2018.

He is in prison with nine other HDP MPs. One of the serious charges he was convicted for was that of propaganda for PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party that has waged an armed insurrection in Turkey for decades.

Demirtas ran for the presidency during the presidential elections of June 2018. He had to run his campaign from his prison cell despite the calls from other candidates for his release in order to have a fair and free election.

Thirty dossiers were filed for Kilicdaroglu while the leader of MHP, Devlet Bahceli had five dossiers. Samil Tayyar, an AKP MP, known for his outspoken stance in favour of the infamous Ergenekon trials, had ten dossiers filed for him.

CHP MP Enis Berberoglu, a former Ankara representative of mass circulating Hurriyet daily, was among those bust and sentenced to 25 years in prison by a heavy penal court in Istanbul. He was released by the court pending a trial last September. 

Berberoglu was charged for publishing the news on trucks allegedly carrying ammunition to radical groups in Syria. The trucks belonged to Turkish National Intelligence Service, MIT. The prosecutor who carried out the probe into alleged criminal activity, along with law enforcement officers on duty at the incident were arrested on charges of treason.

Neither AKP nor MHP MPs were subjected to any legal action following the draft.

Since the commencement of the parliamentary term after the parliamentary elections in June 2018, there are now 185 dossiers (targeting immunity) for current lawmakers.

An arrest warrant followed a supervised release verdict for Turkish opposition former MP Eren Erdem

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