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Ouster of Kurdish MPs threatens to fuel separatism in Turkey

Turkish parliament members have stripped themselves of immunity in a move designed to expel Kurdish lawmakers, but pushing the Kurdish struggle out of the political arena may end up fueling violent opposition instead.
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Turkey’s parliament passed a constitutional amendment May 20 that revokes the immunity of current lawmakers in a move designed to prosecute members of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and oust them from parliament. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in favor of the amendment, backed by a number of deputies from the main opposition, center-right Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Under the bill, parliament members under criminal investigation will see their files sent directly to the judiciary. The amendment affects 148 lawmakers who are the subject of 667 cases that prosecutors have already reported to the parliament speaker’s office, related commissions and the Justice Ministry. The bulk of those probes target HDP deputies. Of the 59 HDP lawmakers, 53 face charges in 405 cases, including 206 related to terror offenses, the overwhelming majority of which stem from their expression of “objectionable” views.

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