Turkish prosecutors are seeking to have the parliamentary immunity of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu lifted over an “insult” case filed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Prosecutors are demanding that Kılıçdaroğlu receive a sentence of up to four years in jail over his “so-called president” remark and be deprived of certain rights.
The information came to light after parliament on June 30 received fresh summary of proceedings targeting 20 opposition lawmakers, including Kılıçdaroğlu.
The Joint Constitution and Justice Committee of Parliament will examine the prosecutors' demand and if it decides to take an action, the issue will be brought forward to the General Assembly where a voting will take place with regards to the lifting of immunities.
It is only if a lawmaker is stripped of their immunity that they can be tried by Turkish courts.
The investigation against Kılıçdaroğlu concerns his remarks during a press meeting in the CHP headquarters on Jan. 10, as part of the Working Journalists' Day.
“If, in 2020, a country's so-called president is directly targeting a newspaper and telling people, 'I am not reading that newspaper, you should also not buy and read it,' then think about the tutelage and oppression on the media there,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Just a day later on Jan. 11, Erdoğan's laywers filed a lawsuit against the CHP leader demanding that he pay 1 million liras in non-pecuniary damages. But they have not stopped there and filed another criminal complaint demanding that Kılıçdaroğlu also stand trial based on Article 299 of Turkish Penal Code, which states that anybody who “insults” the president of the republic can face a prison term of up to four years.
The second criminal complaint turned into a public lawsuit six months later and the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office submitted the relevant file to parliament on June 30 to have Kılıçdaroğlu's immunity lifted.