The Turkish parliament has stripped two pro-Kurdish lawmakers and one MP from the main opposition party of their parliamentary status as the Ankara government presses ahead with a clampdown on opposition members.
Leyla Guven and Musa Farisogullari from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Enis Berberoglu were dismissed of their status after convictions against them became final on Thursday.
The dismissals were announced in parliament after appeals courts upheld Berberoglu’s conviction for disclosing government secrets and the convictions of the two others for being members of a terrorist organization.
The removals have drawn sharp criticism from their parties.
“This disregards the national will. We will continue the democratic fight to obtain justice, rights and law,” CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu wrote on Twitter.
“This is the trampling and theft of the will of the voters and the Kurdish people,” HDP deputy Saruhan Oluc said in a speech in parliament.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly accused the HDP of ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought against the state in the largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The HDP denies such links.
Turkey has been taking tough on on Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast, with military and police saying that they have killed hundreds from the PKK.
Senior HDP figures have, however, repeatedly challenged the figures, saying many of those killed in the crackdown have been civilians.
Erdogan has also repeatedly called for the prosecution of HDP members
In May 2016, Turkey’s parliament approved a bill that would strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution.
The HDP says the legislation was essentially a move to drive its MPs out of parliament.
The ruling AK Party has 291 deputies in the 600-seat assembly, while the CHP now has 138 seats and the HDP has 58 seats, keeping it as the second biggest opposition party.