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Erdogan Signs Law Stripping Turkish Lawmakers Of Immunity

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed a bill into law that lifts the parliamentary immunity of lawmakers.

The law paves the way for the prosecution of pro-Kurdish lawmakers and other legislators who oppose Erdogan's government.

The legislation was proposed by Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party after Erdogan accused deputies from a pro-Kurdish party -- the People's Democratic Party (HDP) -- of being an arm of outlawed Kurdish rebels.

Erdogan has repeatedly called for the prosecution of those lawmakers on terrorism-related charges.

The vote has been criticized by officials in Germany and the European Union.

It also has been condemned by Turkish opposition lawmakers, who have vowed to fight against it.

The HDP backs Kurdish and other minority rights. It denies the accusations that it is the political arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

With support from 376 deputies in Turkey's 550-seat parliament, a May 20 vote in favor of the government-backed bill was enough to avoid a public referendum.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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