Turkey’s immunity-lifting bid draws EU concern

BRUSSELS (AA) – The European Union on Friday voiced concern over a constitutional change passed by Turkey’s parliament set to remove immunity from hundreds of deputies.

“Today’s decision by the Turkish parliament to permit the lifting of parliamentary immunity of a large number of members of parliament is a matter of serious concern,” said a joint statement by foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, the commissioner for neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations.

“The framework for parliamentary immunity should include specific and objective criteria for taking decisions on lifting immunity,” read the statement.

Earlier Friday, Turkish parliament passed the second article of a temporary amendment to the Constitution to allow the lifting of legal immunity from 138 deputies facing criminal charges.

Out of the 138 lawmakers facing criminal charges, 27 belong to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, 51 from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 50 from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), nine from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and one independent deputy from Ankara, Aylin Nazlıaka, a former CHP member.

The EU officials called for “due process” for “any alleged wrongdoing or crime committed by members of parliament,” adding that fair trials are key to ensure public confidence in the judiciary.