Turkish MHP leader testifies in court over 2013 rally

Turkish nationalist opposition leader Devlet Bahceli is accused of "openly provoking the public" with comments made in 2013

Turkish MHP leader testifies in court over 2013 rally

World Bulletin / News Desk

The leader of Turkey's opposition nationalist party, Devlet Bahceli, testified in an Ankara courthouse on Wednesday because of charges against him for "openly provoking the public" during a speech on March 23, 2013.

The veteran chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) addressed reporters in Ankara following his testimony in court, which he said was the result of lifting the immunity of lawmakers from prosecution last month.

"A person who is called to testify in court should come and testify and be an example in developing the justice system in Turkey," Bahceli said.

According to an investigation by the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, a crowd chanted that they would "kill and die" for Bahceli during his speech on March 23, 2013 in the northwestern province of Bursa.

Bahceli responded: "The time will come for that as well," prompting prosecutors to summon him.

In a written statement released on Wednesday, Bahceli said his 2013 comments were meant to warn Turks from violence by the PKK, declared a extremist organization by Turkey, U.S., and the EU.

"If this is thought to be an instigation, then it is a crime to alert the Turkish nation against PKK," Bahceli said in the statement.

"Then it should be regarded as a crime to inform and warn people about PKK as an opposition party leader. It is impossible to accept this," he added.

A total of 152 Turkish lawmakers can face trial in relation to nearly 800 separate criminal charges after the parliament passed on May 20 with 376 votes to adopt a bill, which lifts the immunity of lawmakers from prosecution.The law was later signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 7.

Of the four parliamentary parties in Turkey, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has 57 deputies facing charges while the 55 from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) could be prosecuted.

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has 29 lawmakers on the list while the smallest party in parliament, MHP, has 10. An independent deputy also faces charges.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Temmuz 2016, 16:31
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