(The Australian) — Members of Turkey’s ruling AK Party and the pro-Kurdish opposition have traded kicks and punches, and thrown water at each other in parliament, halting talks about lifting parliamentarians’ immunity from prosecution.
The law, championed by the ruling AKP, would strip members of parliament of their legal immunity.
The Kurdish-rooted Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) says the bill is targeting them and is aimed at suppressing dissent.
President Tayyip Erdogan, who founded the AKP, has called for members of HDP to face prosecution, accusing them of being an extension of the outlawed militant group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Scores of deputies crammed into a committee room to debate the bill on Monday, according to a Reuters reporter in parliament.
Tempers flared and some deputies started shoving each other.
As punches and kicks flew, a few suited parliamentarians launched themselves into the melee from a table.
Others threw water at each other and at least one person could be heard taunting opponents by shouting: “Come on, come on.”
Several politicians were hurt during the scuffle, broadcaster CNN Turk said.
A brawl last Thursday also delayed efforts to pass the bill, as well as legislation related to Turkey’s deal with the European Union to take migrants in exchange for visa-free travel to the EU and accelerated accession talks.
Turkish politicians are immune from prosecution while in office.
The police can file ‘dossiers’ against politicians, which can lead to a legal process once the lawmaker ceases to be a member of parliament.