Turkey parliament begins debating bill that strips MPs of immunity

ANKARA,— 17 May 2016 – MESOP  – The Turkish parliament on Tuesday begins debating a hugely controversial bill that would strip dozens of deputies of their parliamentary immunity and which pro-Kurdish deputies say is directly aimed at driving them out of the legislature.The bill has already led to unprecedented scenes at the committee stage with deputies exchanging angry blows with their fists and even feet rather than discussing the document.

The debates, which could prove fiery, are to begin at around midday GMT in the main chamber, with a final vote expected on Friday.Under current Turkish law, MPs in parliament have the right to full immunity from prosecution. If passed, the bill would lift the immunity of 130 deputies from all parties whose dossiers have been sent to the parliament speaker.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for deputies of the pro-Kurdish HDP to face prosecution, accusing them of being an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK.