After an ugly committee meeting yesterday, Turkey’s parliamentary committee has approved legislation to strip opposition MPs of legal immunity, sending the bill to the general assembly for debate and a vote.
The committee meeting saw a series of fistfights between members of the ruling AKP and the opposition HDP. President Erdogan has openly talked about turning the military on HDP officials once their legal immunity is stripped, accusing them of terrorism.
Erdogan has been using accusations of terrorism against opponents both real and perceived for months, using it as a pretext for nationalizing a major newspaper which reported on corruption problems, and arresting a number of reporters and university professors for expressing opposition to the war against the Kurdish PKK.
The HDP is the “pro-minority” party in Turkey, and has almost every seat within the Kurdish southeast of the country. This has led Erdogan to accuse them of being the public face of the PKK, a charge that has been levied against other regional opposition parties when Turkey has decided they are growing too influential.