Those who commit crimes will be 'touched'

Published 10.06.2016 00:23

With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signing the constitutional change that will lift the parliamentary immunities for deputies who have been under criminal investigation up until May 20, 2016, now it is time for the prosecutors to act. In Turkey deputies are protected by parliamentary immunity thus prosecutors cannot carry out criminal proceedings against them and simply refer the cases to the Justice Ministry where the files are sent to Parliament but no action is taken until the parliamentary term is over.

However, with growing incidents where deputies have been caught aiding and cooperating with the PKK terrorist organization there has been a growing outcry in the public demanding "something has to be done" about the deputies involved in such acts. President Erdoğan who is one of the leading persons in Turkey who can feel the pulse of the masses went public saying Parliament should act to lift the immunities of the deputies who are openly cooperating with the PKK.

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu seemed sluggish in reacting to this and it seems his colleagues opted for a strange method of lifting the immunities of all deputies under investigation for all kinds of charges. According to Turkish law, if a deputy is suspected of having committed a crime his or her file is sent by the Justice Ministry to Parliament and the legislature is asked to lift the immunity of the deputy so the person can be taken to court. Of course, each file has to be voted separately and as there are 796 files to be processed on charges against deputies it would have taken the Parliament a couple of years to process the files. So the former government opted to lift the immunities of all deputies as a package deal and this needed a constitutional change. The change was approved. So instead of dealing with just the files of those involved in actively aiding and cooperating with the PKK, Davutoğlu's people wanted a wholesome deal. In Turkey they use the word "untouchable" for those who have parliamentary immunity so now some of those who are untouchable will be "touchable." There are 148 deputies who face the 796 separate charges and more than half of them are cases on the Kurdish nationalist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies.

However this does not mean the prosecutors will flood the HDP with accusations and take the deputies to court. It does not mean HDP deputies will be imprisoned en masse and that the party's parliamentary presence will end.

All it means is that deputies involved actively in cooperating with the PKK or openly acting as PKK militants will be questioned by prosecutors and will then be sent to court. If the verdict is against them and a prison sentence is in question then the person will be jailed. This will include the HDP deputies who have been caught red-handed transporting arms and ammunition to the PKK, deputies who have attended funerals of PKK terrorists and vowed to "fight" for the cause and those who have visited the condolence home of a PKK suicide bomber. It will include people like HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who created havoc in Turkey ordering an uprising and thus causing the deaths of 50 people.

So the HDP propaganda that the party is under threat and that HDP deputies face an imminent threat of prison are all false.

However, the authorities and the Justice Ministry in particular have to be on the alert that the prosecutors and judges who are still manipulated by the Gülen crime organization do not use the current situation to try to prosecute and jail HDP deputies in an arbitrary manner simply to create judicial havoc and thus create an embarrassment for Turkey.

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