Turkey’s legislature strips 3 opposition deputies of parliamentary status: report

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Turkish Parliament / AFP PHOTOS

Turkey’s parliament stripped two pro-Kurdish lawmakers and one MP from the main opposition party of their parliamentary status on Thursday after convictions against them became final, drawing sharp criticism from their parties, Reuters reported.

Those stripped of their status were Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Enis Berberoğlu.

The decisions were announced in parliament after appeals courts upheld Berberoğlu’s conviction for disclosing government secrets and the convictions of Güven and Farisoğulları for being members of a terrorist organization.

“This disregards the national will. We will continue the democratic fight to obtain justice, rights and law,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu wrote on Twitter.

“This is the trampling and theft of the will of the voters and the Kurdish people,” HDP deputy Saruhan Oluç said in a speech in parliament.

The government has repeatedly accused the HDP of ties to the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought against the state in the largely Kurdish Southeast since 1984 and is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union. The HDP denies such links.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has 291 deputies in the 600-seat assembly, while the CHP now has 138 seats and the HDP has 58, making it the second largest opposition party.

The AKP is planning to push measures through parliament with its Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) allies that affect how political groups may contest elections and could hamper new opposition parties from taking part in any snap elections.

Those plans would not be affected by Thursday’s removal of the three politicians’ parliamentary status.

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