Lawmaker handcuffs herself to podium in protest
A brawl breaks out, with one lawmaker hospitalized
A lawmaker seeking to “deliver a message to the world” sparked a brawl between Turkey’s female lawmakers in parliament earlier this week.
The brawl started Wednesday after independent member of parliament Aylin Nazliaka handcuffed herself to a microphone and refused to leave the podium.
Nazliaka’s protest came during the second and final round of debates this week over a series of controversial constitutional amendments that would expand presidential powers.
She claimed that as an independent lawmaker she was not given a voice and in her protest called on other female members of the opposition to support her, according to state media Anadolu.
The chair attempted to diffuse the situation during a short recess and after an additional 45-minute break, members from the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) moved towards the podium as pro-Kurdish party Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members surrounded Nazliaka in support.
Punches were thrown shortly after the group encircled the lawmaker, according to Anadolu.
One lawmaker with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was hospitalized after she reportedly lost her prosthetic arm in the fracas, Anadolu reported.
It was the second time that lawmakers were seen brawling inside Turkish parliament since they began debating the controversial bill earlier this month.
Last week, a fight broke out amongst some of the parliament’s male lawmakers leaving one senior AKP lawmaker with a broken nose, according to state news agency Anadolu.
A controversial bill
Lawmakers are debating an 18-article constitutional reform package – put forward by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP – that would turn Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential one, effectively consolidating the power of three legislative bodies into one executive branch.
The reforms would also abolish the role of prime minister while granting authority to the president to issue law, declare states of emergency, dismiss parliament and to appoint ministers, public officials and half of the senior judges.
Known as the “power bill,” it would also allow Erdogan – who served as prime minister from 2002 to 2014 before becoming president – to extend his term in office until at least 2029.
By Thursday, parliament had passed four additional articles of the new constitution, there are only seven remaining articles to be passed, according to Anadolu.
A final vote is expected by Saturday. If the bill passes through, it will be put to a referendum, likely in April.
If the outcome of the referendum is also a yes, it could potentially catapult Turkey into snap elections.
CNN’s Hande Atay Alam contributed to this report.