The Turkish Parliament has revoked the legislative immunity of pro-PKK People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP from Diyarbakır, Semra Güzel, for her relationship with a PKK terrorist.
The General Assembly held a vote to decide on his legislative immunity after parliamentary committee members submitted a report regarding his immunity.
The HDP requested a challenge based on the constitutionality of the report before it was submitted to Parliament, but the request was rejected by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Celal Adan.
HDP Group Vice President Hakkı Saruhan Oluç spoke on behalf of the party in defense of Güzel in a three-hour speech. He claimed that visiting the PKK camps alone was not sufficient evidence to launch an investigation and that people who visited the terrorist camps could not be called terrorist members.
Some 365 MPs voted in the first round, of which 313 voted ‘yes’ and 52 voted ‘no’ to waive the immunity of the HDP MP. In the second round, 327 lawmakers voted in favor of waiving his immunity, while 52 voted against.
HDP lawmakers reacted against the decision by holding up signs expressing their disapproval.
The decision should pave the way for criminal charges against Güzel.
Photos of Güzel with PKK terrorist Volkan Bora were widely circulated in Turkish media in January.
PKK terrorist Volkan Bora, nicknamed “Koçero Meleti”, whom the HDP MP claimed was her fiancé, was one of the perpetrators of two terrorist attacks in Adıyaman province. He was part of the terrorist squad that killed the gendarmerie corporal. Müsellim Ünal, a soldier named Mücahit Şimşek on June 24, 2016, and a village guard named Yusuf Sönmez on September 9, 2016.
Bora was killed during a counter-terrorism operation in Adıyaman province in southeastern Turkey in 2017.
A report seeking to end his immunity has been submitted to the office of the Speaker of Parliament and the joint committee formed by lawmakers from the Constitution and Justice Committee will debate it on Thursday.
Güzel defended the photos, saying she was engaged to the terrorist and the photos were being used as “propaganda” to target her.
She said they got engaged after dating while in college and she couldn’t see him between 2009 and 2014.
She claimed that she traveled to northern Iraq between 2013 and 2015, during the reconciliation period, to see her “dear loved one” and that she was not a member of any political party in the time. But a witness noted that she also met him in 2016.
The HDP has come under public criticism for transferring taxpayers’ money and funds to the PKK, an internationally recognized terrorist group. HDP mayors and local officials are known to have diverted funds to the PKK and provided jobs for the group’s sympathizers.