US concerned about lifting of immunity of Kurdish MPs in Turkey

Pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs react to Turkey's ruling AK Party (AKP) as they vote in favor of an article of constitutional change that could see pro-Kurdish and other lawmakers prosecuted at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, May 20, 2016. Reuters

ARA News 

ANKARA – The United States is concerned with the decision of the Turkish parliament to change the constitution to lift the immunity of more than 100 members of the parliament.

“The United States is concerned about the Turkish parliament’s adoption today of a constitutional amendment,” Mark C. Toner, US State Department deputy spokesperson said on Friday.

“A common tenet in democratic societies is equality before the law. However, we firmly believe that the freedom to engage in political speech – even speech which many find controversial or uncomfortable – should and must be protected for everyone,” Toner added.

“This is especially important when it involves speech by elected representatives of a country’s citizens,” he said.

“We are closely monitoring developments regarding this prospective legal change. If this change results in a narrowing of space for political debate, it will erode the quality of Turkey’s democracy,” the US spokesperson said.

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said in a statement: “The indictment of our deputies are raised and submitted to the Parliament purely because of our political endeavor to democratize Turkey and build a libertarian country. We would like to reiterate what we have already publicly stated many times: the said political endeavors are a badge of honor for our deputies.” 

“The temporary amendment on the Constitution, under the guise of lifting immunities is a blow on Turkish democracy and is leading the country onto a shady future,” the HDP added.

Eyyup Doru, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) representative in Europe, warned this could lead to a civil war.

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