ANKARA: The Turkish parliament descended into fresh chaos Thursday with lawmakers exchanging punches for a second time over a controversial bill to boost police powers against protesters, local media reported.
Ruling party and opposition lawmakers engaged in fisticuffs while one MP even fell down the stairs as parliament was about to begin a debate on the so-called homeland security bill, the private Dogan news agency reported.
The unruly scenes mirrored those seen in the parliament overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, when five deputies were left injured — including two who suffered head injuries inflicted by a ceremonial gavel.
Opposition parties, strongly opposed to the government-driven bill, earlier this week vowed to stop the draft text from coming to the parliament floor by resorting to delaying tactics such as presenting motions on unrelated subjects.
Before speeches on the bill began on Thursday, opposition parties voiced objections for more than three hours, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on its website.
Heated verbal exchanges between the warring sides quickly escalated into punches and kicks. Caught in the middle of the brawl, lawmaker Orhan Duzgun from the opposition CHP took a tumble down a few steps.
But Duzgun refused to see a doctor and said: “I am fine. I will stay here and keep on with the struggle,” according to Hurriyet.
Turkey’s opposition fears the bill, introduced by the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) government, will effectively create a police state under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.