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Iran Press TV

Turkey parliament grants immunity to security, armed forces

Iran Press TV

Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:41AM

Turkey's parliament has passed legislation that grants immunity to security and armed forces involved in "counter-terrorism" operations, amid a Turkish crackdown on separatist Kurdish groups.

The parliament voted late on Thursday not to prosecute military and security forces, who have recently been carrying out operations against PKK militants in southeast Turkey as well as in northern Iraq and Syria.

The new law requires permission from the military or political leadership for any prosecution of soldiers. The law will be applied retroactively, thereby covering the operations undertaken over the past year.

Civil servants engaged in counter-terrorism activities will also be protected from prosecution, according to the law.

It also expands the jurisdiction of military courts. The legislation could make it harder to investigate allegations of rights abuses by the forces.

The United Nations and human rights groups have raised concerns about such violations during operations that have been centered in densely-populated cities in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey over the last year. Hundreds of civilians have been killed, according to opposition parties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said 7,500 PKK militants have been "neutralized" and almost 500 soldiers and police officers been killed.

On Friday, six Turkish soldiers were killed in two attacks, the military said.

Four soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated in Hakkari Province, near the Iraqi border. Militants opened fire and killed two soldiers near the town of Derik in Mardin Province, north of the Syrian border, it said.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against PKK positions in northern Iraq and Syria.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc in which more than 30 people were killed.

In a separate development, reports said an employee of a hospital in Ankara had killed three colleagues in a personal dispute.

The employee, who worked at the pharmacy department of the Ankara University Hospital, shot three people dead after engaging in an argument with them. One person was also wounded.

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