Turkey: Parliament ratifies bill to lift MPs’ immunity

By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s parliament ratified on Friday the first temporary amendment to the Turkish constitution that allows the lifting of immunity from prosecution of 138 lawmakers.

Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman announced in the general assembly that the bill received the backing from 373 MPs, while 138 lawmakers voted against it in the 550-seat parliament.

A total of 531 parliamentarians participated in the secret ballot process, out of which eight MPs abstained, nine cast blank votes and three votes were considered invalid.

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, which has 316 seats, and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party, also known as MHP, which has 40 seats, both backed the bill.

The 138 deputies of the Grand National Assembly, who hail from all four parliamentary parties, could now be prosecuted to face 667 criminal proceedings lodged against them.

A second amendment to the constitution will be put to vote separately, after which the two amendments will be voted on together.

If 367 deputies or more vote yes for the second amendment and for the joint voting as well then it will be presented to the Turkish president for final approval.