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Lifting of MPs immunity spur hopes: Turkish deputy PM

Lifting of MPs immunity spur hopes: Turkish deputy PM
Numan Kurtulmus says Turkey's new constitution not only about ruling AK Party, but about 79 million people

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish citizens have high hopes and expectations from the lifting of MPs immunity from prosecution, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference following the first Council of Ministers meeting of the newly-formed Turkish government, Kurtulmus shared his views about some opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies' individual application to the Constitutional Court, urging it to revoke the parliament's immunity bill.

"First of all, the Grand National Assembly did its part by lifting the immunity. I congratulate the responsible deputies for it," he said. "The citizens have a great amount of hope and expectation from the lifting of immunity bill."

Kurtulmus said the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party had paved the way for "individual application" to the Constitutional Court and now "anybody can apply to the court and the court can rule however it wants.

"All I can say is that the parliament felt the responsibility to lift the immunity and the Constitutional Court's decision will have negative impact for some deputies and vice-versa," he added.

On Friday, Turkish parliament passed the second article of a temporary amendment to Constitution that allows the lifting of immunity from prosecution of 138 deputies, who face criminal charges.

Out of the 138 lawmakers facing criminal charges, 27 belong to the AK Party, 51 from the main opposition CHP, 50 from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), nine from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and one independent deputy from Ankara.

About whether the new government would continue to discuss the draft for a new constitution with the opposition, Kurtulmus said: "It is not only about the AK Party, it is about our 79 million people.

"Turkey needs to form a new constitution that is free from the shadows of past coup periods," he said. "Therefore, we say that it needs to be discussed with every political party to reach an understanding of how Turkey can be administrated better."

He also wished success to Turkey's 65th government. "The 64th government was called 'the reform government'. It is safe to say the current government will be 'the reform and breakthrough government'," he added.

- Fehriye Erdal case

About whether the Council of Ministers discussed the ruling of a Belgian court about a terrorist group’s fugitive female suspect, who would now face trial in Belgium for crimes she committed in Turkey, Kurtulmus said: "We have repeatedly conveyed our request to Belgian officials about returning Fehriye Erdal to Turkey.

"As the spokesman of the government, I repeat our request once again about Erdal. It is only natural that Erdal should face trial in Turkey. We hope Belgian officials will do what is necessary to be done."

A Belgian court on Wednesday ruled that Fehriye Erdal, a terrorist group fugitive, will face trial in Belgium for crimes she committed in Turkey, including the 1996 murder of a prominent Turkish businessman.

Erdal, whose whereabouts are unknown since she violated her house arrest order in 2006, was absent from the hearing.

source: News Feed
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