European parliamentarians address letter concerning the immunity vote in Turkey
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council,
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Presidency of the Council of the European Union,
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission,
Brussels, May 13 2016,
Dear presidents, dear Prime Minister, dear high representative
On Monday May 16, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey will consider in plenary session a bill concerning the collective lifting of parliamentary immunity of more than 100 of its members. This bill has already passed the stage of the committee of constitutional affairs which held an emergency meeting on May 2 and the vote that will take place on Monday will be by secret ballot.
This text, if passed, would suspend through a provisional clause the Constitution’s Article Nr. 83 guaranteeing parliamentary immunity. 131 MPs are formally concerned but many fear that the 59 members of the HDP are particularly targeted, with legal proceedings already pending against 50 of them.
Moreover, if a substantial number of Members were to be imprisoned, new elections could be called – like a sword of Damocles placed over the heads of the Turkish MPs.
All of this reminds us of the case of Leyla Zana to whom the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize in 1995 but the facts seem more serious since it is a collective proceeding that seeks to suspend, in haste, the constitutional rights of a large number of Turkish members with no justification regarding the situation in this country, no matter how tense.
As you know, many MEPs are concerned about the latest development of democracy and the rule of law in Turkey but it seems that the Turkish authorities have taken a new step to which the European Union and his top officials can not remain without reacting.
We therefore call on you in your capacity as President of the European Council to urgently put pressure on the Turkish authorities for them to respect the values they claim to share with us.
Iosu Juaristi Abaunz