Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, with his prison sentence of 2 years, 6 months upheld by the Court of Cassation, has been stripped of his MP status after the final ruling of the court was read out at the Plenary Session of the Parliament today (March 17).
After the ruling was read out at the General Assembly hall of the Parliament, the session was recessed for 10 minutes and Meclis TV, the official channel of the Parliament, went for a commercial break.
In response to this, the Twitter account of the HDP Central Office has started live broadcasting from the Parliament in Ankara.
Gergerlioğlu and HDP MPs have not left the general assembly hall and started resisting. They have chanted the slogans of “coup-plotting AKP”, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
After the session was recessed for a few more times, the Plenary Session has been prorogued as Gergerlioğlu and HDP MP kept sitting.
Speaking at the Twitter broadcast, Gergerlioğlu has said:
“I have come here thanks to the nation’s will. I do not recognize this decision that tramples upon the Constitution. The Parliamentary Speaker’s Office has committed a crime. This decision is full of unlawfulness. I am at the heart of my nation. I am not going anywhere. I do not accept the decision of the General Assembly of the Parliament. I have come from Kocaeli with the votes of 90 thousand people. I take refuge in the will of the people. We will not bow down to anti-democratic acts. Everyone should know that.”
Shortly after the ruling was read out and Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his MP status, this change has been reflected in the Parliament’s website.
Beştaş: Top court ruling must be awaited
Speaking before the final ruling was read out, HDP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş took the floor and said, “This ruling was not handed down by the judiciary, it was handed down by the political power holders, this ruling was handed down by the ruling party. So, no one can tell us, ‘This ruling is lawful.’ This ruling is political.”
She also underlined that the result of Gergerlioğlu’s individual application to the Constitutional Court must be awaited.
CHP: You have to abide by Constitution
Before the final ruling against HDP’s Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was read out at the Parliament, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Engin Altay took the floor at the Plenary Session and reminded the Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Celal Adan about the provisions of the Constitution of Turkey.
“The CHP is a political party which accepts and believes in the rule of law under any conditions and circumstances. We cannot be mere onlookers to injustice,” said Altay, briefly adding the following:
“The primary duty of the MPs is to protect the dignity of the Parliament and the Members of the Parliament. We do not want the state to go beyond the law. As for the legislative body going beyond the law, it is unthinkable and unacceptable. Why do the courts exist?
“While Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, just like Enis Berberoğlu, made an application to the Constitutional Court and the Parliament was offside about this issue, we think that there is no sense that it is offside again.
“There is a general rule of law. The points in favor of persons are put into practice. But the ruling that you will read out soon is against the general rules of law and Constitution. Even when you are the Speaker of the Parliament, the most sacred roof, you are obliged to abide by the Constitution.”
HDP: Judiciary is on the side of the government
HDP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chairs Meral Danış Beştaş and Saruhan Oluç also held a press statement at the Parliament after the final ruling was read out. Oluç took the floor first and briefly said:
“The judiciary is playing on the opposition as the stick of the political power holders. We are quite openly accusing the judiciary.
“The judiciary has been playing a game on the legislative body. It has established the dominance of the political power holders. Those who are in power today have placed the Parliament under tutelage via the judiciary. This is the case, without any dispute. The judiciary has been on the side of the government. It is dependent on the government.
“The prosecutors are in a race to issue summaries of proceedings against HDP MPs. Because they are promoted and rewarded thanks to this. Court boards do not hand judgements by relying on the law, the Constitution and laws or on the international democratic conventions that Turkey is a party or on universal law; they hand judgements by relying on what the Palace says. The executive body and the government have brought the judiciary to such a point. We do not accept this in any way at all.”
HDP Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on February 21, 2018 on the grounds of a social media post from 2016. This ruling given by the Kocaeli 2nd Heavy Penal Court has recently been upheld by the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.
Speaking shortly after this ruling was handed down, Gergerlioğlu said that the verdict was “political”, adding, “Strip searches, abductions, tortures… Some people got disturbed by us talking about all these.”
He also made an application to the Constitutional Court. (HA/SD)