Turkish lawmakers have approved controversial plans to reform the country’s top judicial body, amid a brawl which left one opposition legislator with a broken nose.
Turkish government wants the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors – the HSYK – to come under justice ministry control.
The bill was debated overnight amid heated scenes, with reports of dozens of lawmakers involved in a fist fight.
Last month the judicial body said the plans were unconstitutional and would undermine its independence.
The plans were proposed by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party, which dominates parliament.
At one point during the 20-hour debate, scuffles broke out leading to punches being thrown.
Turkish lawmakers have approved controversial plans to reform the country’s top judicial body, amid a brawl which left one opposition legislator with a broken nose
The lawmaker whose nose was broken – Ali Ihsan Kokturk from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) – needed hospital treatment.
Another one from the governing AK Party suffered broken fingers.
Ozcan Yeniceri, a lawmaker from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was among those to criticize the bill, saying it was aimed at impeding corruption inquiries and “meeting the needs of the AK Party”, Reuters reports.
The reforms come after allies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan were arrested in a major corruption inquiry, after which the government dismissed hundreds of policemen.
There is intense rivalry between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a former ally, Fethullah Gulen, who has many supporters in the police and judiciary. Fethullah Gulen is an influential Islamic scholar living in self-imposed exile in the US.
Judicial reform is a highly sensitive issue because Turkey is under pressure from the EU to bring its justice system into line with EU standards.
Turkey hopes to join the EU, but progress in the negotiations has been very slow.
[youtube RUkAwQHJho4 650]
Hundreds of people were protesting outside the Kuwaiti Parliament, when dozens of them stormed the building late on Wednesday.
The protesters were demanding that Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah step down.
Hundreds of demonstrators, including opposition lawmakers, have been protesting weekly outside parliament over alleged corruption.
According to some reports, riot police had beaten protesters using batons as they gathered outside parliament.
AFP news agency reports that at least 5 protesters were injured.
“Now, we have entered the house of the people,” said Mussallam al-Barrak, who was among those who led the protest against Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir.
Hundreds of people were protesting outside the Kuwaiti Parliament, when dozens of them stormed the building
People broke open the gates to the parliament building and managed to enter the main chamber, where they sang the national anthem and then left a short time later.
According to eyewitness and protesters, guardsmen did not intervene when they entered the parliament building, stormed after protesters’ attempt to march on the prime minister’s house were blocked.
“Some people managed to get inside. No confrontation happened with the national guard who are guarding the building,” said eyewitnesses.
“People are asking for more reforms, and especially as recently the government has not been going with the spirit of the constitution, which some regard as the absolute minimum of democracy.”
As the crowd returned to the square outside, the protesters outside shouted: “The people want to bring down the head (of government).”
Kuwait’s parliament is one of the few elected bodies in the Gulf.
Kuwait has not seen the mass protests that toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali, thanks to a generous welfare system, observers say.
But opposition groups have escalated pressure on Kuwait’s leadership in recent months over claims of corruption and perceived attempts to roll back political freedoms.