17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Police to escort deputies to court if refusals to testify persist

16 September 2009, Wednesday /METİN ARSLAN
The court hearing the cases of some deputies from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who refused to testify in court over charges of terrorism propaganda is likely to rule for the police to bring the deputies to the trial by force on Sept. 29, sources have said.
Deputies Emine Ayna, Fatma Kurtulan, Aysel Tuğluk, Sabahat Tuncel and Selahattin Demirtaş received official notices in May instructing them to testify as part of criminal cases in which they were implicated in the past. The deputies have long refused to testify in the cases over crimes they are charged with having committed before they were elected as deputies. The deputies have refused to testify, saying they would be subjected to discrimination if they are forced to do so as they have parliamentary immunity.

In the same month, former Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan, “accidentally” delivered the testimony summons from the Ankara 11th Criminal Court to the deputies but later withdrew it, saying the Parliament needs time to solve any possible crisis.

 The criminal court agreed to postpone the trial in which Demirtaş and Ahmet Türk are suspects until Sept. 29. As the day of the trial draws nearer, it is said that the court may possibly rule to bring the deputies to court by force if they insist on refusing to testify.

Jurists and intellectuals have called on the Parliament and the government several times to resolve the crisis and prevent it from damaging the efforts to solve Turkey's long-standing Kurdish problem. They warn that forcing the DTP deputies to testify under the threat of police force would set Turkey back 15 years, referring to an incident in 1994 when four Democracy Party (DEP) deputies were taken out of Parliament by police. 

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