ADDS ERDOGAN COMMENTS
By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's parliament ratified Friday the second article of a temporary amendment to the constitution which will allow the lifting of legal immunity from 138 MPs.
Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman announced in the Grand National Assembly that the bill's second section received the backing from 374 MPs while 136 lawmakers voted against it in the 550-seat parliament.
A total of 526 parliamentarians participated in the second part of the secret ballot process, out of which four MPs abstained, 11 cast blank votes and one vote was considered invalid.
Earlier in the day, parliament ratified the first article of the same amendment bill.
According to Kahraman, the first part of the bill was backed by 373 MPs, while 138 lawmakers voted against it in the 550-seat parliament.
A total of 531 parliamentarians participated in this first part of the secret ballot process, out of which eight MPs abstained, nine cast blank votes and three votes were considered invalid.
The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, which has 316 seats, and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party, also known as MHP, which has 40 seats, both backed the bill.
If 367 deputies or more vote "yes" in the next joint voting stage, then the law will be presented to the Turkish president for final approval.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said Friday he might pursue a referendum on lifting legal immunity from members of parliament if the total number of lawmakers supporting the bill fail to exceed 367.
Erdogan's remarks came during his appearance at Trabzon airport on his way to Turkey's northern Black Sea city of Rize.
"I hope the voting will be concluded today. If there is an outcome of votes between 330 and 367 votes, then what? Then we will go for the vote of our people to finalize this issue," Erdogan told a crowd.
*Anadolu Agency correspondent Satuk Bugra Kutlugün contributed to this report.