Turkey's bid to lift immunity of pro-Kurdish MPs gathers pace

By REUTERS
March 9, 2016 18:28

 
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Turkey's prime minister applied to parliament on Wednesday to lift the immunity of senior pro-Kurdish opposition deputies to prosecute them on charges of belonging to an armed terrorist group.

Such a step could further inflame tensions in the mainly Kurdish southeast which has been hit by the worst violence in two decades since a two-year Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ceasefire collapsed in July.

President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies to face prosecution, accusing them of being an extension of the PKK. Lawmakers in Turkey are normally protected from prosecution.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office filed a submission requesting immunity from prosecution be lifted from HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and deputies Selma Irmak, Sirri Sureyya Onder and Ertugrul Kurkcu, parliament officials told Reuters.

They deny the accusation of belonging to an armed terrorist organization and provoking hatred.

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