‘…the parliamentarians came to blows, people were pushed and others tried to restrain their colleagues during an assembly session on Wednesday night’
This is the moment opposition parties started brawling in the Turkish parliament as they debated a controversial migration deal. Lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling AK Party and the pro-Kurdish opposition delayed efforts to pass legislation on a migration deal with the European Union.
Punches were thrown as people were pushed and others tried to restrain their colleagues as the assembly met late on Wednesday night. It kicked off over military operations targeting Kurdish militants in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.
Footage shot by Mahmut Tanal, a lawmaker for Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), showed deputies shoving and jostling each other.
The acting speaker announced the parliament would not meet again in full session until Monday, May 2, due to the fighting.
Lawmakers had been expected to work on Friday and Saturday on the legislation needed for Turkey to secure visa-free travel to Europe, a key part of Ankara’s deal with the European Union on stopping uncontrolled migration to Europe.
Brussels aims to propose waiving visas for Turks on May 4 but that is strongly opposed by some EU member states.
The EU has said Turkey fully meets fewer than half of the 72 criteria and that its conditions will not be softened.
The fierce exchanges erupted after MP Ferhat Encu from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party referred to the killing of civilians in military operations against Kurdistan Workers Party militants in the southeast.