Turkey strips 3 legislators of seats, setting off protest

Enis Berberoglu, a legislator of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, speaks at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 4, 2020.  Turkey's parliament on Thursday stripped three opposition party deputies, including Berberoglu, of their legislative seats, setting off a raucous protest inside the assembly hall by colleagues who accused the ruling party of an assault on democracy. (AP Photo)
Enis Berberoglu, a legislator of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, speaks at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 4, 2020. Turkey's parliament on Thursday stripped three opposition party deputies, including Berberoglu, of their legislative seats, setting off a raucous protest inside the assembly hall by colleagues who accused the ruling party of an assault on democracy. (AP Photo) (AP)

ANKARA

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s parliament on Thursday stripped three opposition party deputies of their legislative seats, setting off a raucous protest inside the assembly hall by colleagues who accused the ruling party of an assault on democracy.

Deputy speaker Sureyya Sadi Bilgic read out appeals court decisions confirming the legislators' convictions, a process that automatically leads to the deputies’ losing their legal immunity and parliamentary seats.

Opposition legislators banged on their desks and chanted slogans denouncing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AK Party, as “the enemy of democracy.”

The move came as tensions in parliament were already running high over a contentious bill that would grant neighborhood watchmen similar powers as the country’s regular police force.