The Turkish Parliament has received summaries of proceedings to remove the parliamentary immunity of 20 opposition lawmakers including the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), according to Turkish media reports.
The proceedings against the opposition deputies are based on charges that include “insulting the president,” “slander” and “inciting hatred and enmity among the public.” They were submitted to parliament by the Justice Ministry.
Fifteen of the lawmakers facing the removal of their immunity are from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), one from the opposition İYİ (Good) Party, one from the Democrat Party, one from the Workers’ Party of Turkey and one from the Democratic Regions Party, a sister party to the HDP, in addition to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
If parliament votes to strip the 20 deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts.
The prosecution of members of parliament has been possible since the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lent support to a 2016 proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution.
Former HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was the last victim of the controversial practice who was stripped of his parliamentary membership in March based on a prison sentence given him on bogus terrorism charges. Gergerlioğlu was subsequently jailed.