17:14 GMT19 September 2020
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    Turkey's decision to strip MP's of their immunity can have a ‘chilling effect’ on the freedom of speech in the country, according to the US State Department. Sputnik spoke to Dr. Firat Cengiz, expert on EU-Turkey relations regarding how she didn’t expect the Turkish society to leave this issue without any response.

    “We can call this the day democracy truly died in Turkey and we can abandon all hope for any meaningful opposition against President Erdogan and the AKP’s political system in the future. Obviously, Turkey has a very strong civil society that has been growing especially since 2013 and I hope they can voice some criticism and we can see an outbreak of protest all over the country,” Cengiz said.

    She further spoke about how it would still be difficult to challenge Erdogan and his party. Talking about Turkey’s relation with the West, Cengiz said that she doesn’t expect any meaningful change in the relationship.

    “We have seen how the EU has approached and handled the refugee crisis and how they lost their leverage over Turkey. Angela Merkel herself approved the potential prosecution of the German comedian over a case of alleged insult of Erdogan so they have given tremendous power to this government,” Cengiz said.

    Cengiz commented on US-Turkey relations saying that the US relies heavily on Turkey with regard to their military and political plans over Syria and also the fight against Daesh.

    “The power balance shifted quite heavily towards Turkey in its relationship with the West. We can see press releases and resolutions coming out of European Parliament and the US Congress but I don’t see any kind of meaningful and political response from the West.”

    The analyst spoke about the Turkish parliament and how the people in the parliament are there to represent the Turkish people and they have been elected to do so by the people.

    “The stripping of the MPs is not just an act against freedom of expression it is an act against parliamentary democracy altogether,” Cengiz said.

    She then spoke about the future of Turkey. “We can expect another outbreak of civil protest in Turkey and this could unfortunately lead to more violence and also police violence. I see a lot of political instability in Turkey,” the analyst concluded.

    The bill was passed by 376 of the 550 parliament member, which will now require a change in the country’s constitution. The law will now be passed on to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for signing.

    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.

    Once Erdogan signs the bill into effect, 138 lower house lawmakers from all four parliamentary parties will be prosecuted to face 667 criminal proceedings lodged against them, with over 100 of these lawmakers representing the opposition.


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    freedom of expression, prosecution, parliament, interview, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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