AK Party submits proposal to release jailed deputies
In a surprise move, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has expanded the immunity of deputies to include the crime of separatism and crimes committed against the regime, paving the way for the release of jailed deputies.

The AK Party has submitted the proposal to Parliament's Constitutional Reconciliation Commission, Turkish media outlets reported on Thursday.

Turkey has nine deputies in jail -- two from the Republican People's Party (CHP), one from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and six from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) -- some facing charges of coup plotting and others membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban branch of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). All nine deputies were elected to Parliament during last year's general elections, and their nominations to run for Parliament led to widespread controversy as they were already imprisoned.

The AK Party also suggested a change in the parliamentary oath taken by deputies and ministers before taking up their posts: the addition of the expression "sacred values." Should the proposal be approved, deputies will take an oath on their sacred values and honor to stay loyal to the principles of human rights, the rule of law, democracy, protection of the state's independence and the unity of the nation.

According to the current oath, deputies swear loyalty to the principles of the Turkish Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and to the constitution.

In its proposal, the AK Party clearly references the presidential system and does not use the word "prime minister." The proposal envisages that laws approved in Parliament will be approved by the president.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-15 18:00:04
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