Opposition slams politically motivated judicial proceedings against 25 MPs

The opposition has said that the recent legal bids to lift the immunity from prosecution of 25 lawmakers put into question the independence of Turkey's judiciary. “There is no independence of the judiciary right now. Prosecutors are immediately fulfilling Erdoğan's instructions,” main opposition CHP chair Kılıçdaroğlu said. HDP co-leader Buldan, one of those accused over the Kobane protests, said that the ruling AKP's policies are pushing Turkey into “more disasters.”

This collage photo shows HDP co-chair Buldan (L) and CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

Duvar English

The opposition has slammed the newly prepared proposals seeking to have legislative immunity lifted for 25 lawmakers, saying the judiciary has turned into a tool of oppression at the hands of the government.

“There is no independence of the judiciary right now. Prosecutors are immediately fulfilling [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's instructions. He [Erdoğan] is putting whoever he wants behind the bars,” main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 25, while commenting on the fresh summary of proceedings prepared by prosecutors against opposition lawmakers.

After the relevant proposals were submitted to Parliament, Erdoğan said that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and coalition ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will back lifting the immunity of relevant lawmakers from prosecution.

“The process will proceed as it is. This issue will be discussed at commissions of Parliament and will be taken to General Assembly. And at the General Assembly, hands will go up immediately and then come down [during the voting],” Erdoğan said on Feb. 24.

The legal bids will first be handled by a parliamentary committee which will decide whether to put them to a vote in the general assembly. The timing of the process was unclear.

Kılıçdaroğlu criticized Erdoğan for not giving a chance to his ruling AKP lawmakers to make their own choices on whether to back relevant judicial proceedings or not.

“Look at his manner of speaking. 'Hands will go up and down.' These people are lawmakers, don't they have any own will? Will these lawmakers not say, 'Let us look at these files ourselves'? Erdoğan says, 'No, you will not. You will just raise your hands and then lower them,'” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The judiciary proceedings target three CHP MPs, 20 Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs, one Democrat Party (DP) MP, and one Democratic Regions Party (DBP) MP.

CHP MP Ali Mahir Başarır, whom prosecutors are accusing of “insulting” state institutions, said that the government is trying to change Turkey's agenda with these summaries of proceedings, as the country is struggling with “poverty, corruption, injustice, pandemic and economic struggles.”

“They have no courage to speak about the realities. This country cannot be managed by those who do not fulfill their own responsibilities and instead defame others,” Başarır said on Feb. 25.

In November, prosecutors launched an investigation into Başarır over his comments that the Turkish army was "sold to Qataris" in a series of deals signed between Ankara and Doha. The government was outraged by Başarır's remarks.

HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan is one of the 20 HDP deputies for whom prosecutors are seeking the lifting of parliamentary immunity. Buldan faces charges over the Kobane investigation, with a demand for a life sentence.

“We are refusing the AKP government's understanding to solve problems through military and security-related policies. We are aware that similar policies have been followed since the past, but they have not reached any solution, and on the contrary pushed the country to more disasters,” Buldan said on Feb. 25.

Buldan made the comments as she visited the headquarters of Labor Party (EMEP) and the Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP).

Indicating that his party supports the HDP, TİP chair Erkan Baş said: “We would like to ask a question to all Turkey people, laborers. If the HDP was a party like the AKP wants, if it were to submit, surrender to it, conduct politics within the limits that the AKP draws, would it be the addressee of today's attacks?”

Erdoğan and the ruling AKP often target the HDP by claiming that it's the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. 

Scores of HDP members, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, are currently imprisoned on charges related to the PKK.