S&D MEP Kati Piri and Knut Fleckenstein call on members of parliament not to support amendment

Following the vote in the Turkish Parliamentary Commission on Monday approving a law to remove parliamentary immunity from nearly a quarter of the country’s lawmakers, the S&D Group expresses its deep concern about the state of democracy in Turkey.

The decision would amend the Turkish constitution with a temporary clause which could remove protection from prosecution from 129 of the Turkish Grand National Assembly’s 550 deputies.

Even though this change could affect lawmakers from all four parliamentary parties, it seems to be targeted against MPs from the opposition parties, most notably against the HDP where 46 out of 59 MPs would be affected.

Commenting on the vote, S&D MEP Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s negotiator on Turkey, said:

“We are deeply concerned about the decision of the Turkish parliament’s constitutional committee to lift the immunity of parliamentarians in a way which violates the Turkish constitution.

“This move is clearly targeting members of the opposition HDP. Silencing democratically elected MPs for their political statements is against all democratic principles. If the Turkish parliament goes ahead, the – already deep – polarisation of Turkish society will be intensified and the conflict in south-east Turkey will be further aggravated.

“We urgently call on members of parliament across the political spectrum not to support this amendment, which will carry Turkey further away from its EU path.”

Knut Fleckenstein MEP, vice-president of the S&D Group, concluded:

“The fact that 46 MPs from the HDP who could be prosecuted as “supporters of terrorism” following the adoption of this bill in the Turkish Grand National Assembly later this month is a clear violation of their rights as MPs and could oust most of the HDP MPs from the parliament – which would mean eliminating part of the opposition.

“The CHP should also consider that 51 of their own MPs could have their immunity removed under this law. We invite the CHP to reconsider their position as this would clearly be an undemocratic move.”