New York Times correspondent Ceylan Yeginsu claims Turkish Parliament approves stripping lawmakers of their immunity to oust Kurdish deputies
On 20 May 2016, Ceylan Yeginsu in the NYT published an article in which it was claimed that the AK Party (Justice and Development Party) compelled lifting deputies' immunity which would lead to the ouster of Kurdish deputies.1 She wrote:
Lawmakers from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing party pushed through an amendment to the Turkish Constitution on Friday that would strip members of Parliament of their immunity from prosecution, a move that is likely to lead to the ouster of Kurdish deputies.
Yeginsu refers to the AK Party as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing party which is a factual mistake given that presidents in Turkey cannot be members of any party. Additionally, two-thirds majority of votes in the parliament is required by any amendment to the Turkish Constitution. The bill at stake was backed by 376 out of 550 deputies while the AK Party has 317 seats in the parliament. Besides, the Turkish Parliament approved the bill to lift the immunities of parliamentarians regardless of their political parties.
Contrary to what was alleged in the article, the bill does not bear any intention to exclude any parliamentarian, but opens the way for deputies accused of supporting crimes such as terrorism, blackmailing and forgery to face trial. 138 deputies would face charges, and they come from all political parties that currently have seats in the Turkish parliament. 27 deputies belong to the ruling AK Party, whereas 51 of those facing charges are from the opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP). 53 are from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and 9 are from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).