// IP Marketing video - START// IP Marketing video - END

Turkish lawmakers brawl during constitutional reform debate (video)

Turkish lawmakers brawl during constitutional reform debate

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkish lawmakers came to blows in a brawl in parliament overnight, as tempers boiled over in a debate on a constitutional reform package to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Reuters reports.

MPs from the ruling AK Party and main opposition CHP threw punches and shoved one another as they crowded around the assembly's podium.

The AKP, backed by the nationalist MHP, is pushing through the legislation that Erdogan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The opposition CHP and pro-Kurdish HDP fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.

During the row, CHP deputies objected to AKP members casting votes without entering the cabins set up to ease what was a secret ballot. AKP lawmakers then tried to grab the mobile telephone of a CHP deputy filming the scene.

Despite the clash, the third, fourth and fifth articles of the 18-article bill were approved in the parliamentary session, which continued until early on Thursday. Debate was scheduled to resume on Thursday afternoon.

The bill needs the support of at least 330 deputies in the550-seat assembly to go to a referendum, expected in the spring. The AKP has 316 deputies eligible to vote and the MHP 39.

The three articles were passed with between 341 and 343 votes in favor.

The reform will enable Erdogan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party, and govern until 2029.

The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.

 Top stories
Syria's government and President Bashar al-Assad have rejected similar reports in the past of torture and extrajudicial killings.
Potential opponents are yet to rule out contesting her for the ballot but party sources say a Berejiklian victory is likely.
The report by Intcen, the EU intelligence centre, concluded that the coup was mounted by a range of opponents to Erdogan and his ruling AK Party.
The main part of the donation is for six surplus MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighter aircraft, a long-standing requirement for the Serbian Air Force.
Partner news