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Turkish lawmakers brawl, then pass law

By Gul Tuysuz, CNN
updated 6:53 AM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
  • Lawmaker is hospitalized after being struck in the nose
  • The dispute traces back to corruption charges against the sons of three cabinet ministers
  • The vote was 210-28

Istanbul (CNN) -- After a hard-fought battle -- one that landed a lawmaker in the hospital -- Turkey's parliament in Ankara voted Saturday to approve changes to the administrative body that oversees judges and prosecutors.

The approval, by a vote of 210-28, came a day after parliament erupted in a brawl during debate about the proposed changes.

One parliamentarian from the main opposition Republican Peoples' Party, or CHP, was hospitalized after being struck in the nose, the semi-official Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkish police break up Internet protest

Members of CHP and the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, began fighting when a CHP member speaking in parliament called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a dictator and overstayed his turn at the podium. As AKP parliamentarians tried to remove him from the podium by force, the brawl erupted, with parliamentarians kicking and punching each other.

The dispute traces back to the filing of corruption charges against the sons of three cabinet ministers in a high-profile graft case that began in December.

The ruling Justice and Development Party then proposed a series of measures that would change the administrative body that oversees judges and prosecutors.

Turkish media have reported that further rounds of corruption charges are in the works and wire taps damaging to the government have been leaked online and to the Turkish media.

Critics say the government is interfering with the workings of the judiciary to bring the courts in line after the damning corruption case. The government says the overhaul of the administrative body is necessary because the Turkish judiciary has been infiltrated by a parallel group aiming to discredit the government.

READ: Opinion: Is instability the 'new normal' for Turkey?

READ: Turkey purges police force

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