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Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 12:30pm

Push Comes To Shove In Turkey's Parliament Over Judicial Bill

Updated: 10 months ago.
Members of parliament from the ruling AK Party and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) scuffle during a debate on a draft law to give the government tighter control over the judiciary.

Passage of a bill to increase the Turkish government's control over the country's judicial system on Saturday came down to a real fight in Parliament, literally.

Two members of Parliament were injured one with a broken nose during debate over the controversial measure to give the Justice Ministry greater control over the selection of judges. The measure ultimately passed, but not before some minor bloodshed.

The Associated Press reports:

"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government proposed the bill as it fights a corruption scandal that implicated people close to him.

"Erdogan claims the corruption charges are a conspiracy orchestrated by followers of an Islamic movement which he insists has infiltrated the police and judiciary. The opposition says the bill, which still needs the president's approval, limits the judiciary's independence.

"Media reports said one legislator was hospitalized with a broken nose. Another broke a finger."

The parliamentary brawl comes a day after India's parliament erupted in a similar conflict over the creation of a new southern state. The Guardian says "angry MPs [came] to blows, pulling out microphones and pepper-spraying the chamber."

As Indian Business News Live points out, "rough and tumble" politics is nothing new in Turkey, India or elsewhere. It lists "20 notorious fights inside parliaments of the world," including two so far this year in Ukraine, several in Taiwan over the years, as well as South Korea, Bolivia and Italy.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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