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CHP takes controversial immunity decree to Turkey’s top court

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has challenged a controversial government decree that grants immunity to civilians in terror and coup cases, at the country’s Constitutional Court.

CHP Deputy Chairman Muharrem Erkek on Wednesday submitted a petition to the top court demanding the annulment of the controversial Article 121 of government decree No. 696, released in December 2017, which said regardless of an official title or duties or the lack thereof, people who played a role in the suppression of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and subsequent events and terrorist activities will be exempt from criminal liability.

Critics slammed the controversial article, saying it paves the way for armed civilian gangs in Turkey.

Erkek, speaking to reporters in front of the top court on Wednesday, said: “Every citizen who exercised his right to resistance against the coup attempt is innocent, and this is a natural right. However, we unfortunately saw during the coup attempt that innocent soldiers who had nothing to do with the coup and were even unarmed were lynched that night. Investigating these actions is a requirement of a state of law. In addition, this article, for whose annulment we applied to the Constitutional Court, includes very ambiguous wording that could lead to serious problems in the future.”

Former President Abdullah Gül was among the critics of the controversial article.

“The ambiguity that does not comply with legal parlance in the text of state of emergency decree No. 696, which I think was released to protect the hero citizens who took to the streets to resist a traitorous coup attempt on July 15, is worrisome in terms of a state of law,” Gül said in a tweet in December.

“I hope to see its revision in order to avoid giving an opportunity to events and developments that could sadden all of us,” he added.

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