US considers Turkey democratic, says it has no position on lifting of immunity of Kurdish MPs

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Ruling AK Party and pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers scuffle during a debate at the Parliament in Ankara, Turkey in this April 27, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer

ARA News 

QAMISHLO – The Turkish government is planning to lift the parliamentary immunity of members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). The US says it has no position on this.

The Turkish parliamentary committee on Tuesday approved the lifting of the immunity which would most likely lead to the prosecution of HDP-members and them ending up in jail, ending the Kurdish presence in the parliament.

“Well, again, as a parliamentary democracy, Turkey has well-established democratic procedures in place that will determine who has immunity and what circumstances that it can be lifted and how it’s going to be – how it’s going to be lifted,” John Kirby, the US State Department spokesman said. 

“And we would expect that Turkey will follow its own democratic procedures in that regard. As I understand it, the parliament has taken up this bill and it’s an ongoing process, and I don’t want to get out ahead of that process right now,” he added.

And again, I’m not going to speak to the specifics of an internal process there inside Turkey,” he emphasized.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for members of the HDP to face prosecution, accusing them of being an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

In the meantime, Turkish columnist Mustafa Akyol in an article for Hurriyet Daily News wrote that the decision is most likely linked to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) wanting to get the HDP’s seats through a mini-election, after the HDP losing their dozens of seats.

“This is the way the AKP hopes to garner the 14 additional parliamentary seats it needs to make a constitution of its own – a constitution tailor-made for our glorious president,” Akyol wrote on Wednesday. 

By: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

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