The Grand National Assembly of Turkey [official website] on Friday advanced an amendment to the constitution to strip members of parliament of their immunity privileges. The assembly voted on the measure with some 376 out of 550 members approving [Hurriyet Daily News report] the constitutional amendment, preventing the need for a referendum on the issue. The move, backed by the president’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, Arabic] is could lead [NYT report] to the removal of Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) [official site, Turkish] members of parliament in order to prosecute them for their alleged ties to militant Kurdish forces. As many as 130 members [Yesisafak report] are now subject to removal and could face prosecution within the year if the bill is signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [BBC profile]. EU representatives have called [press release] the lifting of immunity an issue of concern and implored the assembly to ensure the immunity is retained by all members.
Turkish state police on Sunday prevented [JURIST report] members from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) from holding a party congress in direct opposition to Erdoğan, by sealing off a hosting hotel. Erdoğan announced [JURIST report] in May that he does not plan to change the country’s anti-terrorism law, a requirement of a deal struck between Turkey and EU in March. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported [JURIST report] in April that the first round of EU sanctioned deportations from Greece to Turkey on April 4 was “rushed, chaotic, and violated the rights of those deported.” Erdoğan stated [JURIST report] in April that EU states are violating international law by breaking their migrant pact with Turkey, by not allowing the country to extradite suspected terrorists.