Feb 27 2018

Two more pro-Kurdish lawmakers stripped of status

Turkey's parliament voted to strip two lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, (HDP) party,  of their parliamentary status on Tuesday for insulting the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and for sharing an image on social media.

Ahmet Yıldırım, MP for the eastern province of Muş, lost his seat after being behind bars for 14 months for insulting Erdoğan. Ibrahim Ayhan, MP of the southeastern town of Şanlıurfa, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for sharing a photo from the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane during the fight with the Islamic State (ISIS). He was convicted of sharing terrorist propaganda.

The move further reduced the parliamentary seats of the second largest opposition party in the parliament, HDP, down to 50. The party's lost nine places since the election from 59 to 50. Nine other HDP lawmakers are in detention and could be stripped of their status.

"Our people will not accept this!" the HDP said in a tweet.

The Turkish government maintains that the HDP is affiliated with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),  an armed insurgent group that has operated mainly in the southeast regions of the country since 1984. The HDP denies any affiliation with the PKK.