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21-May-2019 16:19

A risky step on immunities

MURAT YETKİN

  • May 21 2016

By MURAT YETKİNmurat.yetkin@hurriyet.com.tr



The Turkish Parliament approved a bill on May 20 to pass a temporary constitutional change to allow the trial of MPs who have legal cases pending against them by lifting their legal immunities. Some 139 deputies in the 550-seat Turkish Parliament have a total of 682 files against their name. Among those are files against three party leaders: Selahattin Demirtaş of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has 75 files against him, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 41, and Devlet Bahçeli of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has nine.

According to the political party groups, the HDP deputies top the list with a total of 417 files, followed by the CHP with 195, and the MHP with 20. Deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) have 46 files in total. Among the 682 total files, 216 are “terrorism-related,” almost all of which are against HDP deputies, and 201 are “insult” files, mostly related to “insults” targeting President Tayyip Erdoğan. Most of these are against CHP and HDP deputies.

The change voted for on May 20 covers all parties, but the step was initiated by the AK Parti following Erdoğan’s statement that MPs who “talk on behalf of the terrorists” - implying militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - should not be able to hide behind the cover of parliamentary immunity. He said they should be considered terrorists too. 

Erdoğan was targeting the HDP members of parliament, accusing them of carrying weapons in their cars, attending the funerals of killed militants, and praising them.

The debate is similar to the case 22 years ago, when the immunities of four deputies were lifted, leading to their trial and imprisonment in 1994. That did not help the Kurdish problem get any closer to a peaceful solution.

The bill was approved with the votes of the AK Parti, the MHP and partly the CHP, which was divided over the vote. Without support from within the CHP the bill would have been taken to a referendum. Erdoğan said in a speech right after the vote that the CHP saw that if the bill was taken to a referendum it could have been approved with 70-80 percent support from the public, so some CHP deputies voted to approve it in order to avoid this.

The vote on immunities was another test of Erdoğan’s power ahead of a possible vote for a constitutional change shifting Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system in the coming months. Erdoğan may or may not have the MHP’s support for a presidential system - and he is highly unlikely to have support from the CHP and HDP for a strong presidential system - but he is likely to try a referendum. 

This power test has left another mark on the Turkish Parliament’s record of representativeness. After all, the HDP won 59 seats in the Nov. 1, 2015 election, more than the MHP, for example. Terrorism is a heavy accusation to make and there is a thin line between speech and action regarding terrorism-related accusations, especially in Turkey which is engaged in a serious campaign against not only the PKK but also against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAESH using Arabic initials.

What’s more, it may not only be MPs from the HDP that are put on trial. Kılıçdaroğlu has said that no CHP member is afraid of being put in jail for the party’s fight for a better democracy. HDP co-chair Demirtaş has also said his party members are not afraid of being jailed, which would also carry a cost for the ruling AK Parti and Erdoğan. 

Such jailing might trigger reactions in the West, especially within the EU, which is trying to maintain a fragile deal with Turkey over the control of refugees triggered by the Syrian civil war and the reactivation of Turkey’s membership negotiations. The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on May 20 that she might raise the issue with Erdoğan when she meets him in Istanbul next week during the U.N. Humanitarian Summit. Source

 

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Aca-Kamil Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member and businessman
Agaoglu-Gulsum HDP Central Executive Board Member
Akdoğan-Nihat

HDP Hakkari MP. Was arrested. 7 November 2016.

Aksu-Ahmet

Local HDP politician. Were arrested 30 Nove,ber 2018 on terrorism charges, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Aksoy-Halil MP from 24th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.
Anlı-Fırat Co-mayor of Diyarbakır. Was sentenced to 14 years and three months in prison. Charges that he had disseminated the propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),
Aydeniz-Salihe Diyarbakır deputie. Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Aydoğan-Nursel 

The Turkish parliament has stripped of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Nursel Aydoğan of her status as a member of parliament, after a Prime Ministry motion read at the start of a parliamentary session on May 9, 2017.

Ayhan- İbrahim

Was sentenced to 15 months in prison for sharing a photo from the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane during the fight with the Islamic State (ISIS). He was convicted of sharing terrorist propaganda.

Baluken-İdris

HDP lawmaker from Van, Nadir Yıldırım, was detained on Jan. 30 (2017) while he was present at the hearing of HDP Diyarbakır lawmaker İdris Baluken at the Diyarbakır 8th Court of Serious Crimes. Yıldırım, who was the subject of a subpoena, was released after his testimony was taken.

Baluken, meanwhile, was released on Jan. 30 in the first hearing of his case. He was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, on several charges, including “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.” 
After being released from prison in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Baluken said his release was not news but the fact that one of the party’s co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, was still in jail was noteworthy. MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Bas-Erkan People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul MP
Başaran-Ayşe-Acar

On July 31, 2017, HDP Batman MP Ayşe Acar Başaran was taken into custody in Batman Airport as she wanted to travel to Ankara and was released the next day.

Baydemir-Osman

Osman Baydemir were relieved of his duties after being convicted of terror organisation membership and insulting the police respectively. Was found guilty for "violating the law on meetings and demonstrations" and sentensed to 18 months in prison.

Berk-Edip Former HDP MP Berk, Party Assembly Member
Bestas-Meral-Dams Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie
Bilgen-Ayhan

Bilgen was detained early on Jan. 29 (2017) in the Esenboğa Airport in Ankara and taken to Diyarbakır.  He was referred to court with the prosecutor demanding his arrest for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” but he was released on condition of judicial control that included an overseas travel ban. Bilgen, however, was detained in Diyarbakır again on Jan. 30 before being formally arrested on Jan. 31 (2017).

Birlik-Leyla

Received a one-year-and-nine-month prison sentence for “insulting the president,” according to a judicial source.
Was found guilty for "violating the law on meetings and demonstrations" and sentensed to 18 months in prison.

Botan-Lezgin Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie
Beştaş-Meral Danış

Beştaş was arrested on Jan. 31 (2017) arrested on accusations of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”

Beştaş was previously detained on Jan. 28 as part of a terror probe but was released on condition of judicial control. After the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to the release, an arrest warrant was issued for her. 

Botan-Lezgin HDP Van lawmaker Lezgin Botan was detained at the Ferit Melen Airport over a detention warrant issued by Van 2nd Court of Serious Crimes.

Botan was accused of “making terror propaganda,” “inciting crime” and being a member of “an armed terrorist organization,” with the prosecutor demanding 40 years in prison. He was later released on condition of judicial control after his testimony was taken. 
Bulbul-Kemal Elected to the Turkish Parliament in the June 24 general election from the ranks of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP),
Buldan-Pervin On June 13, 2017,HDP İstanbul MP and Group Deputy Chairperson Pervin Buldan who was taken into custody on June 12, 2017, was released.
Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Celik-Burcu

On April 19, 2017, HDP Muş Burcu Çelik was arrested.

Çiçek-Cengiz  

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) İstanbul branch co-chair Cengiz Çiçek  was detained on April 28 2018 after the police had raided a public meeting held by the HDP in İstanbul.  The court accepted posters displaying jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and other PKK members as evidence of “terrorist propaganda.”

 

 

Dağ-Dersim Diyarbakır deputie. Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Demir-Filiz-Kerestecioglu Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parlement deputy.

Erdogan on 28 November 2018 demanded from the country’s Parliament to strip the leaders of the main and Kurdish opposition parties of immunity. 

Demirel-Çağlar

Was 17 June 2017 currently in prison over alleged terror charges.
HDP group deputy chairman Çağlar Demirel was among the ones that a subpoena was issued for by the Diyarbakır Second Heavy Penal Court, Anadolu Agency reported.

Çağlar Demirel, deputie from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has been handed down a prison sentence of 90 months on terror charges. MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Demirtas-Nurettin  
Demirtaş-Selahattin

On February 21, 2017, HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş was sentenced to 5 months in prison on charge of "Insulting Turkish nation, Republic of Turkey and its institutions and bodies". MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Doğan-Aziz

Local HDP politician. Were arrested 30 Nove,ber 2018 on terrorism charges, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Dundar-Pero Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member who are also standing as parliamentary candidate.
   
Encu-Ferhat

A majority of lawmakers at the Turkish parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of removing a fellow MP, Ferhat Encu of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), from his elected post over conviction at a court for “terrorist propaganda.” MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Erdoğmuş-Nimetullah Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie. Erdogan on 28 November 2018 demanded from the country’s Parliament to strip the leaders of the main and Kurdish opposition parties of immunity. 
Ertan-Bedia-Ozgokce Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie.

Erdogan on 28 November 2018 demanded from the country’s Parliament to strip the leaders of the main and Kurdish opposition parties of immunity. 

Farisoğullari-Musa Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır deputie.
   
Geveri-Adem Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie
Güven-Leyla Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member who are also standing as parliamentary candidate.
   
Hezer-Tugba

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker. Turkey's Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by two Kurdish lawmakers, Tugba Hezer of the Van Province and Faysal Sariyildiz of the Sirnak Province, to reverse a decision on their ouster from the Parliament two months ago.

   
   
Ilhan-Ilsris Former member from the HDP of Siirt’s general provincial council
Imir-Nuran Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Irgat-Mizgin -were accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan].”
Irmak-Selma MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.Wwas relieved of her duties in the parlament after being convicted of terror organisation membership and insulting the police respectively.

Isleyici-Merve Nur

A Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) official who survived an Islamic State (ISIS) bombing with mild concussed in 2015 was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on charges of belonging to the illegal Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), leftwing news agency Etkin said .

Merve Nur İşleyici was among six female HDP members studying at Süleyman Demirel University and Pamukkale University who were sentenced to long prison terms after attending a memorial demonstration for Sakine Cansız, a PKK member killed under suspicious circumstances in Paris, Etkin said.

İşleyici, presently an HDP board member in the Isparta province, told the court that she had merely expressed her opinion in statements to the press at the event, which was held at the time of the peace process, during which there was no active conflict between Turkey and the PKK.

Her lawyer, Erkan Metin, said he would appeal the ruling.

“The decision is completely subjective and unjust,” he said. “It is an illegal, political decision.”

İşleyici had attended a press conference of leftist students preparing to visit the majority-Kurdish Syrian city of Kobane in the border town of Suruç in 2015 when an ISIS suicide bomber launched an attack, killing himself and 33 others and injuring 104.

“Suddenly I saw a ball of fire in front of me,” İşleyici wrote of the incident. “My ears went deaf. Everywhere was bright white. Then I fell unconscious.”

When she came to, she found herself in a heap of bodies.

“My ears could not hear anything, but there were shredded organs and pieces of flesh on every hair of my head. I remember looking at my hands, and then fainting."

 

 

 

 

Kaya-Sara Co-Mayor of Nusaybin
Karvar-Hasan

Local HDP politician. Were arrested 30 Nove,ber 2018 on terrorism charges, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Keresteci-Filiz Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie
Kısa-Abuzer Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Ankara head
Kışanak-Gültan Former lawmaker of the dominantly Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)Kışanak was arrested in October 2016. Was sentenced to 14 years and three months in prison. Charges that he had disseminated the propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),
Konca- Besime

Was stripped of her lawmaker status after the definitive court ruling against her was read aloud in the first session of parliament on Oct. 3, 2017.

Kurkcu-Ertugrul

Former lawmaker from HDP. Sentenced to 2 years in jail on terrorism charges,

 

 

Mizrakli-Adnan-Selcuk New co-mayors of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır elected on Sunday’s local polls
Ocalan-Dilek

- were accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan].”

Onder-Sırrı-Sureyya

Former HDP MP. Was given 42 month in prison for "propagandizing for a terror organization." MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Onlu-Alican

- were accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan].”

Ozer-Gulsen Reserve member of the HDP Party Assembly
Ozkan-Burcu-Celik

- was sentenced to seven years, three months and 10 days on charges of disseminating propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Özhanlı-Şafak MP from 25th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.
Öztürk-Berdan

attended the rally along with HDP lawmakers and representatives. ...complaint was filed on Nov. 19 against Ağrı deputy Berdan Öztürk,...... for paying a condolence visit to a funeral house in Diyarbakır.

Öztürk-Tuğba Hezer

Tuğba Hezer Öztürk, an HDP lawmaker from the eastern province of Van, was stripped of her parliamentary seat on June 14 after not attending talks in parliament for nearly a year.

Paylan-Garo

.....also were accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan].”

Pir-Ziya

The charges include “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, “publicly insulting the Turkish nation, military and security forces”, “praising crime and criminals”, and “insulting the president”.

   
Sahin-Edibe MP from 25th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.
Sarısaç-Murat Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Sariyildiz-Murat Faysal

The move to strip Faysal Sariyildiz of his status was read out in parliament after an appeal to remove their membership was submitted and voted on.

Sertkaya-Ahmet-Turan

Local HDP politician. Were arrested 30 Nove,ber 2018 on terrorism charges, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Sik-Ahmat Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentarian
Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Surucu-Ayse Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Şanlıurfa deputy. Faces a prison sentence between one-and-a-half and three years for attending a ceremony in 2016 in the southeastern town of Halfeti.
   
Tascier-Imam

Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie
Erdogan on 28 November 2018 demanded from the country’s Parliament to strip the leaders of the main and Kurdish opposition parties of immunity. 

Taşdemir- Dirayet

The trial for eight lawmakers started on Sept. 5, as the lawyers of the deputies were present in the court room. The lawmakers......., Dirayet Taşdemir,...., didn’t participate in the hearing, as the court issued a subpoena for the next hearing. 

Tekin-Esref Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party official. Have been detained in dawn police raids in the southeastern city of Siirt after discovering massive irregularities on the electoral roll.
Temel-Tayyip Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member who are also standing as parliamentary candidate.
Temelli- Sezai Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair. Temelli is facing charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and “insulting the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the state’s institutions and bodies,”
Tiryaki-Mehmet-Rustu Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Batman deputie
Togrul-Mahmut Peoples’ Democratic Party parliament deputie.

Erdogan on 28 November 2018 demanded from the country’s Parliament to strip the leaders of the main and Kurdish opposition parties of immunity. 

Tosun- Remziye Proposal to lift immunity of HDP deputies submitted to Parliament
Tuğluk-Aysel MP from 23th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.
Tuncel-Sebahat DBP Co-Chair. Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.
Turhan-Cemal Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party official. Have been detained in dawn police raids in the southeastern city of Siirt after discovering massive irregularities on the electoral roll
Uca-Feleknas Accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan]. disseminating terrorist propaganda,” and demanding the removal of their immunity from prosecution."
Uyanik-Hulya-Alokmen New co-mayors of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır elected on Sunday’s local polls
Uğur -Cavit Provincial co-chai. Was detained 9 March 2016 in an anti-terror operation in İzmir over accusations of “making terrorist propaganda.”
Yiğitalp-Sibel

Accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan]. disseminating terrorist propaganda,” and demanding the removal of their immunity from prosecution."

Yildirim-Ahmet

Lost the seat in parlament due to criminal conviction. Yıldırım was given 14 months in jail last year by the Muş 2nd Penal Court of First Instance for insulting President Erdoğan

Yıldırım-Gülser

Were arrested after being detained on November 4, 2016. MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

Yildirim-Nadir

accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, government, military and police,” “violating the Political Parties Law” and “Insulting the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan]. disseminating terrorist propaganda,” and demanding the removal of their immunity from prosecution."

Yüksekdağ-Figen

HDP Co-Chair Yüksekdağ was relieved of her MP duties by the parliament. As a result, the number of HDP MPs has dropped from 59 to 58. MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

 

 

Zana-Leyla  

A majority of lawmakers at the Turkish parliament on Thursday (11 January 2018) voted in favor of removing a fellow MP, Leyla Zana of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), from her elected post.

Zeydan-Abdullah

Was sentenced to eight years in prison over terror charges. MP from 26th term of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Was still in prison on 11 December 2018.

   
 

16 May 2019:

A summary of proceedings of the deputies of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was submitted to Parliament to lift their immunity in the face of their affiliation with the terrorist organization.

Presidency dossiers on the immunity of 21 deputies, including HDP co-chairpersons Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Saliha Sera Kadıgil were presented to the Turkish Parliamentary Speaker's Office.

Buldan along with HDP Ağrı deputy Berdan Öztürk and HDP Diyarbakır deputy Remziye Tosun have three dossiers while two dossiers were submitted for HDP's Istanbul deputy Ahmet Şık, Şırnak deputy Nuran İmir, Van deputy Murat Sarısaç and Diyarbakır deputies Musa Farisoğulları, Salihe Aydeniz and Dersim Dağ.


11 April 2019:

9 municipalities to be transferred from HDP to AKP after election authority denies mandate for purge victims

A decision by Turkey’s election authority this week requires that nine municipalities be handed over to runners-up from the ruling party instead of the elected opposition candidates who were previously purged from public jobs, Euronews Turkish service reported.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) objected to the results of the March 31 local elections in at least nine cities where it lost to candidates from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who in the past were removed from public service.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced that elected mayors should not be given the mandate to govern if they were subjected to expulsion by decrees the government issued in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016.

The YSK justified its decision based on a clause in the decrees which stipulates that dismissed civil servants can no longer be employed in public service.

The board decided that the runners-up should be given the mandate instead.

The AKP’s objections were lodged in the predominantly Kurdish East and Southeast where in recent years elected mayors from the HDP were replaced by trustees appointed by the AKP-led Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, in a district of the eastern province of Muş, the runner-up from the HDP received the mandate instead of the winner from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) because of the same YSK decision.

The HDP reacted to the transfer on Twitter, announcing that it rejects the practice in principle and asking for a new election.

 
Turkish police continues operations against dominantly Kurdish party

Turkish police have detained members of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in operations in seven provinces on Friday, Evrensel newspaper reported 

Ten senior members of the HDP were detained in Ankara, while the police had arrest warrants for 30 people, including lawyers, on charges of making terrorist propaganda, Evrensel said.

Some 18 members of the HDP detained in Istanbul on Thursday are expected to be formally charged by prosecutors on Friday, Evrensel said. Police also raided the houses of several others on Friday morning. 

In the eastern province of Erzurum, three members of the HDP were detained over social media posts dating from 2014, according to Evrensel. ,

Large-scale operations against pro-Kurdish party started on Tuesday in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, where 10 of its members were detained.

Police this week also blocked several attempts by HDP politicians and members to organise demonstrations in solidarity with Leyla Güven, a Kurdish lawmaker, who has been on partial hunger strike for 100 days to protest the isolation of jailed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan

The governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Friday banned a rally that was supposed to end in front of Güven’s house, Artı Gerçek reported. Güven is in a critical condition and the Kurdish lawmaker was taken home on Wednesday after she was hospitalised, but refused treatment.

 

Turkey prosecutor seeks arrest of 16 pro-Kurd politicians before elections

 

The Status of HDP MPs by September 2017

 

3 HDP branch chairmen in İstanbul detained for supporting deputy on hunger strike

 

2 more jailed Kurdish politicians to start hunger strike protesting visitor
ban on PKK leader