Turkey's HDP seeks to waive MPs' legal immunity

Kurdish party says it will apply to parliament to lift immunity from all MPs amid rancor over PKK accusations

Turkey's HDP seeks to waive MPs' legal immunity

World Bulletin / News Desk

 A leader of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party has said he will apply to parliament to waive his and 79 other deputies’ legal immunity from prosecution.

The unusual move comes after Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli suggested Selahattin Demirtas’ Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) be investigated by Turkish courts over an apparent failure to condemn violence by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Under Turkish law, members of parliament have immunity from prosecution.

Speaking to party members in Ankara on Tuesday, Demirtas said: “With my 80 friends, we will submit a petition to the parliament to lift our immunity,” adding: “If you are not afraid, let’s lift immunities altogether.”

The HDP leader also suggested that only the voters of Turkey could close down his party, which was the first pro-Kurdish grouping to cross the country’s electoral threshold, winning 80 seats in parliament in the June 7 general election.

However, the party has been accused of having links to the PKK, which is seen as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its allies.

Demirtas added: “Parties are opened by people and closed by people.

“Those who gave us 13 percent of the vote today [in the June 7 election] may also give us one percent tomorrow; we respect that…”

Talks to end the armed conflict between the PKK against Turkish security forces had been ongoing since early 2012.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged the HDP to "act like a political party and cut ties with the terrorist PKK".

Demirtas also condemned the murder of two police officers last week in Turkey’s southeastern town of Ceylanpinar for which PKK claimed responsibility.

“This is a dirty game,” the HDP leader said: “It is part of provocation.”

He also claimed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had failed to secure PKK disarmament “because public surveys, opinion research results showed [him] this process will not bring him the presidency”.

Erdogan had pushed to establish an executive presidential system ahead of the Turkish general election in June.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Temmuz 2015, 17:34