With the waiver of the lagislative immunities, the rulings against the politicians continue to be a matter of debate. In case the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals on Berberoğlu case establishes a binding prejudication precedent, there will be no hold-up against the continuation of the judicial procedures regarding 20 MPs from the PDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP) and nearly 30 MPs from the RPP (Republican People’s Party, CHP). This repercussion of the decision for the waiver of the legislative immunities is alarming for nearly 45 to 50 MPs who will be serving for the 27th term of the assembly.
27th circuit of the Court of Appeals approved the decision of 5 years and 10 months of imrisonment for the crime of “revealing secret documents” on the case RPP’s İstanbul MP, Enis Berberoğlu has been on trial for delivering the images of the National Intelligence Organization’s trailor trucks retained at the border to the Cumhuriyet newspaper’s chief editor, Can Dündar. Berberoğlu, although being reelected for the parliament by the June 24 elections has been illicitly kept detained for three more months in prison. Only after three months, the Supreme Court of Appeals decided for ‘the suspension of the execution of punishment until the end of the parliamentary term and the release of the convict.’ This decision is regarded as “illicit” by the judicial circles and specifically by the RPP. The RPP is preparing to bring the case to the further appeal processes.
CAN THIS DECISION ESTABLISH A BINDING PREJUDICATION FOR 50 MPs?
The political circles regard the decision that came short of terminating the judicial process and further the process by approving the earlier decision as a possible binding prejudication regarding the cases of other MPs reelected after losing legislative immunity by the parliamentary vote. The judicial process had been continued on the cases of some RPP and PDP MPs reelected on June 24 and the courts had rescheduled the hearing on months of September and October. In case the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals establishes a binding prejudication precedent, there will be no hold-up against the continuation of the judicial procedures regarding 20 MPs from the PDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP) and nearly 30 MPs from the RPP (Republican People’s Party, CHP). This repercussion of the decision for the waiver of the legislative immunities is alarming for nearly 45 to 50 MPs who will be serving for the 27th term of the assembly.
IF THE RESOLUTIONS ARE ANNOUNCED AT THE PARLIAMENT…
Finalization of the possible criminal sentences regarding the MPs with the continuation of the judicial process seems to be leading to another controversy in the parliament. The announcement of the resolution at the plenary session may well terminate the parliamentary membership of those MPs. In case the opposition loses 50 MPs by this process, the distribution of the seats between the parties will dramatically change. This scenario allows the JDP (Justice and Development Party, AKP), which had lost 8 per cent of its previous votes at the June 24 general elections, to regain its parliamentary weight.
THE PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER’S OFFICE HOLDS THE KEY
Only the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office is to decide whether the resolutions will be announced at the parliament. Political circles see this situation as a test of democracy awaiting the Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yıldırım and regard his prospective choice having significant repercussions for democracy and the parliamentary system.
THE DECISION IS BINDING FOR THE 26TH TERM
The concerned judicial process depends on the constitutional amendment of the 26th term regarding the waiver of the legislative immunities. Previously on the same legislative session, a total of 7 PDP MPs have lost their seats after the decisions on their cases were finalized. Again on the same term, legislative immunities were lifted on 787 cases related to 148 MPs made up of 29 from the JDP, 55 from the RPP, 53 from PDP, 10 from the NAP (Nationalist Action Party) and 1 independent. Effectiveness of the provisional clause was limited during the concerned term and later the trials of the MPs were reincluded in the legislative immunity.
Following the Berberoğlu decision, now the attentions are directed to next plenary session on 1st of October and the Sepeaker’s decision on the announcement of the resolutions.
Translation: Benan Eres