CHP leader: Only elections should determine who will leave office

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has indirectly criticized the detention of 11 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies including the party’s co-chairs in the early hours of Friday, saying that those who arrived in Parliament through elections should leave only by losing in elections.

“If you defend democracy, you should be defending that those who arrive [in Parliament] in elections must leave [by losing] elections [instead of by other means]. Otherwise, you will kill democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a meeting in the western province of İzmir on Friday.

Counterterrorism police in the early hours of Friday raided HDP headquarters in Ankara and conducted a search of the premises while 12 deputies, including Co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, were detained in police operations in Ankara and the southeastern provinces. One of the deputies was released on probation on Friday morning.

After the government’s lifting of parliamentary immunity in June, mainly applicable to HDP deputies in practice, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made clear that the new law would be used to prosecute HDP deputies on “terrorism” charges rather than lawmakers linked to corruption.

The CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) extended their support to the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) to abolish the parliamentary immunity of some deputies facing an investigation.

 

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