The Turkish parliament on June 4, Thursday, expelled three of its members belonging to opposition parties. An announcement to this effect was made by the Parliamentary Council of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Two of the three expelled members of parliament (MPs) belong to the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) while the third is a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Among the expelled HDP MPs is Leyla Guven, who had undertaken a 79-day hunger strike against the solitary confinement of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan. Musa Farisogullari is the other expelled MP from HDP. Guven and Farisogullari represented the Hakkari and Diyarbakir seats in the Turkish parliament, respectively.
The CHP MP who has been expelled is Enis Berberoglu, who represented Istanbul. In Turkey, MPs cannot be imprisoned unless they are stripped of their parliamentary immunity. All three MPs had been sentenced by Turkey’s Court of Cassation. After their convictions were upheld by the appeal courts, the three were expelled from parliament in order to remove their parliamentary immunity.
The news of the MPs’ expulsion caused massive uproar in the parliament, with MPs belonging to the opposition chanting “the AKP (Justice and Development party) is the enemy of democracy”.
The two HDP MPs had been accused and later convicted of being members of a “terrorist organization”. They are now set to serve prison sentences for six (Guven) and nine (Farisogullari) years each. Turkey considers PKK as a terrorist organization and both these MPs are considered to be close to the PKK.
CHP MP Berberoglu has been sentenced to prison for a term of five years and 10 months. He was convicted in 2018 for leaking apparent footage of Turkish intelligence ferrying weapons to opposition groups in Syria. This footage was supposedly provided to journalist Can Dundar of Cumhuriyet newspaper.
While Turkey’s support to the Free Syrian Army fighters is a well-known fact, the Recep Tayyib Erdogan-led Turkish government has attempted to portray the war in Syria as a civil war and denies the charge of aiding the Syrian rebel groups with arms.
Guven responded to her expulsion with a short video in which she said “resistance is life” in Kurdish.
HDP parliamentary group’s deputy chair, Meral Danis Bestas, accused the government of president Erdogan of being “pro-coup”, adding it is going against both the parliament and the popular will of the Turkish people, Middle East Eye reported.