A meeting of a top committee at the Turkish parliament broke up in chaos on Thursday as deputies threw punches and jumped onto tables in a furious confrontation between ruling party and pro-Kurdish lawmakers.
The constitutional committee of parliament was meeting to discuss a government-backed plan to remove the parliamentary immunity of deputies that has already seen tensions surge.
The proposal will apply to all parties but opponents see it as a ploy by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to destroy the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) by prosecuting its lawmakers over alleged support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Tensions had already boiled over into fisticuffs in parliament on Wednesday but the scenes in the cramped committee room Thursday were even worse as the sides engaged in a full-scale brawl.
Deputies threw punches at each other as dozens of MPs pressed themselves into a corner of the room, while others jumped onto the table to get a better crack at their adversaries, pictures broadcast by NTV television showed.
Others tried to stay out of the fight, preferring instead to record the event for posterity on their mobile phones.
The discussions on the key issue have now been postponed until Monday after no progress could be made because of the fighting, NTV said.
Turkey’s lawmakers are notorious for their fistfights but the daily Hurriyet commented on its website of Wednesday’s clash that “never has such a fight been seen in parliament before”.