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Eight Parliamentary Proceedings Referred to Parliament

In Turkey, parliamentarians face systematic efforts to revoke their immunity, which in turn erodes the foundations of the rule of law and democratic institutions and processes. This is because MPs, operating under the specter of losing their immunity, may find their ability to function effectively in parliament significantly compromised, thereby limiting their capacity to adequately represent the demands of their constituents.
Eight Parliamentary Proceedings Referred to Parliament

The Freedom Observer

The Freedom Observer

We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.

Last week, the new legislative year commenced in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. In conjunction with the inauguration of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, parliamentary proceedings aimed at lifting the immunity of 8 Members of Parliament were forwarded to the Office of the Parliament’s Presidency. These proceedings involve three deputies from the Green Left Party, two from the CHP, one from the Democratic Party, and two from the MHP.

Notably, among the proceedings is one initiated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Sezgin Tanrıkulu, with the request to remove his immunity on charges of “public incitement to hatred and hostility” and “publicly denigrating the military and security organization of the state.” The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office sent the summary of this case to the Ministry of Justice, which subsequently transmitted it to the Presidency of the Republic for further submission to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

If these proceedings are submitted to the Constitutional and Justice Joint Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the Commission decides to add them to the agenda, a Preparatory Commission will be constituted for each case.Once the Preparatory Commission reaches a decision, the Mixed Commission is obliged to review this decision within a one-month period. The Mixed Commission determines whether to remove the immunity or to defer the prosecution until the conclusion of the parliamentary term. If the Joint Committee chooses to revoke the immunity, the case will be deliberated in the General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and the final decision will be made by the MPs.

The decision to lift the immunity in the General Assembly is determined by the votes of an absolute majority of those present, and this number cannot be less than 151 under any circumstances.

Once the Preparatory Commission reaches a decision, the Mixed Commission is obliged to review this decision within a one-month period. The Mixed Commission determines whether to remove the immunity or to defer the prosecution until the conclusion of the parliamentary term. If the Joint Committee chooses to revoke the immunity, the case will be deliberated in the General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and the final decision will be made by the MPs.The decision to lift the immunity in the General Assembly is determined by the votes of an absolute majority of those present, and this number cannot be less than 151 under any circumstances.

 It’s worth mentioning that this process didn’t lead to the swift removal of immunity for the concerned MPs, given that there are over 1000 pending proceedings in Parliament. Nonetheless, it’s feasible to expedite the process by prioritizing the cases of certain MPs. This is largely dependent on which MPs and parties the ruling party and its allies in the committees want to punish.

One of the longstanding issues in Turkey, which has evolved into both a threat and a tool for the political authorities to penalize their adversaries, is the attempts to revoke parliamentary immunity. In recent years, with the diminishing independence of the judiciary, there has been a significant surge in the number of cases referred to Parliament. Some parties, particularly the ruling party, have made aggressive use of this method. Notably, in the past two terms, the number of deputies who lost their parliamentary positions is notably high. For instance, 8 MPs from the 26th term and 5 from the 27th term were stripped of their parliamentary mandates. Additionally, there were MPs who were not released and were prevented from participating in legislative activities despite being elected as MPs, as seen in the recent case of Can Atalay.

In Turkey, parliamentarians face systematic efforts to revoke their immunity, which in turn erodes the foundations of the rule of law and democratic institutions and processes. This is because MPs, operating under the specter of losing their immunity, may find their ability to function effectively in parliament significantly compromised, thereby limiting their capacity to adequately represent the demands of their constituents.

Democratic systems thrive on the inclusion of diverse voices and viewpoints. The removal of parliamentary immunities poses a direct threat to the pluralism principle of democracy, particularly by stifling dissenting voices. Moreover, the arbitrary and subjective nature of this process undermines the rule of law. The perception that justice is not administered impartially and independently can further deteriorate the already diminished public trust in the justice system.

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The Freedom Observer

The Freedom Observer

We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.

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Ömer Faruk Şen

2015 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi’nden mezun oldu. Şen, Fulbright bursiyeri olarak Missouri Üniversitesi’nde siyaset bilimi doktorası yapmaktadır. Uluslararası para sistemi, yükselen güçler, dolar hegemonyası ve digital paralar gibi Uluslararası Politik Ekonomi (UPE) konularında çalışmalar yürütmektedir.

The Freedom Observer

We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.

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