Nergis Demirkaya / DUVAR

The 800 inquiry reports and confirmed criminal convictions pertaining to various parliamentarians have now made their way to the agenda in the 27th legislative parliamentary session.

At present, a joint committee consisting of members of the Constitution and the Justice Commission has not engaged in any effort to bring files to the agenda regarding the lifting of parliamentary immunity to the agenda. In the absence of any unique development, the files will be dealt with at the end of the legislative session. Yet deputies with confirmed criminal convictions will not be awarded the same treatment.

According to one ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politician, it is impossible to keep deputies in parliament who have confirmed convictions and whose status as a parliamentarian needs to be stripped away. “This is not a personal opinion, this is a party opinion and practice. Whatever our previous approach was, that is how we will continue,” the politician said. 

The general approach in previous years was to deal with the confirmed convictions of deputies at the end of the legislative session, but this was changed by former AKP parliamentary speaker İsmail Kahraman. 

The deputy statuses of Figen Yüksekdağ, Ferhat Encü, Tuğba Hezer, Faysal Sarıyıldız, Osman Baydemir, Besime Konca, Nursel Aydoğan, İbrahim Ayhan and Ahmet Yıldırım, all from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), were stripped away. 

Prison sentences granted to HDP deputies Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları were recently approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals. 

Despite being a legal political party, the HDP and many of its members and politicians have been constantly targeted, jailed and accused of being terrorists by the AKP and its coalition partners in the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). They insist the party is the political wing of the banned militant Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), though some prominent members including jailed former co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş had made efforts to distance the party from the PKK.