Fifth Kurdish lawmaker ousted from Turkish Parliament

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday, October 10, in its first legislative session of the new term, stripped Kurdish lawmaker Besime Konca of her membership over a court ruling that sentenced her to two and a half years of imprisonment in a “terror-related” trial.

With the ouster of Konca, the number of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers at the 550-seat Turkish Parliament fell from 59 to 54.

Police have arrested Konca, a representative for the Kurdish Siirt Province, at least three times since last year over alleged propaganda in a speech for a “terrorist” organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in her case.

Konca’s sentencing came in mid-July; however, later the same month, a court decided to release her because of an unjust imprisonment she served between 2009 and 2014.

The Parliament previously kicked out four HDP lawmakers: the party’s former co-leader Figen Yuksekdag, Nursel Aydogan of Diyarbakir, Tugba Hezer of Van, and Faysal Sariyildiz of Sirnak provinces.

While both Yuksekdag and Aydogan are serving prison sentences along with eight other lawmakers and their co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, Hezer and Sariyildiz have fled to a European country.

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A day before Konca’s removal from the Parliament, HDP lawmakers boycotted the legislative body’s opening ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and protested the government in front of a prison in the Edirne Province where authorities are holding Demirtas.

HDP labeled the decision against Konca and the three other female lawmakers “misogyny” by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

A statement by the party also said its female MPs were “specifically targeted” by the government, rejecting the legitimacy of Konca’s ouster.

Turkey’s leadership accuses the HDP, the country’s second-largest opposition block, of being a political front for the PKK.

The PKK has been waging a decades-long guerrilla warfare against the state over successive governments’ suppression of Kurdish identity, culture, and demands for self-rule.

The ongoing crackdown on the HDP has seen 80 mayors, along with MPs, and thousands of its members arrested since last year.

Topics: HDP, Kurds, Turkey

In May 2016, the Turkish Parliament passed a bill proposed by the AKP to strip lawmakers’ immunity.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the minority block of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supported the bill that until now has disproportionately targeted the HDP.

 

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