07:41 GMT12 July 2020
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    The German government is concerned over a new Turkish law stripping a number of the country's lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters on Friday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) – Earlier in the day, the Turkish parliament backed a law that provides for stripping 138 Ankara lawmakers of immunity from prosecution. The bill is now set to be presented to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a final approval.

    "The federal government took a note of this vote. The increasing domestic political polarization, the growing polarization of the domestic political debate in Turkey is of concern to us. We believe that freedom of speech and of the press plays a central role in a living democracy, and this is true not only for media, but also for public performances by all citizens who want to participate in a political and public discourse, and especially for elected representatives," Seibert told reporters.

    The issue of the immunity bill, along with other matters, are expected to be discussed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meting on Monday, the spokesman added.

    The bill was proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), after a number of opposition legislators who support the Kurdish call for more autonomy in the southeastern Anatolia region were investigated for "inciting unrest and circulating terrorist propaganda" in January.

    Earlier this week, Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, said that the AKP proposal to strip Turkish lawmakers of immunity targets opposition groups in parliament.

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    immunity, German government, Steffen Seibert, Germany, Turkey
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