Turkey’s Parliament Squabble and Scrap Before Vote

Turkey's parliament erupted into a physical free-for-all Saturday — sending one bloodied lawmaker to the hospital — as party tensions boiled over during a 20-hour debate.

Members of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, and the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, started scrapping after a CHP member called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a dictator, then overstayed his turn at the podium, Reuters reported.

AKP leaders responded, "Are you drunk?"

As AKP members tried to remove him from the podium by force, the melee exploded — with lawmakers kicking and punching one another.

Image: Member of parliament from Republican People's Party Ali Ihsan Kokturk's nose bleeds in Ankara
Opposition parliament member Ali Ihsan Kokturk's nose bleeds as MPs from the ruling and opposition parties scuffle during a debate on a draft law which will give the government tighter control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors in Ankara on Saturday. STRINGER/TURKEY / Reuters

Parliament members began session Friday to vote on a bill to place the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK, under Justice Ministry control after a scandal in the courts last December resulted in a corruption investigation.

As the contentious debate stretched into Saturday, lawmakers eventually voted overwhelmingly in favor of the change, 210-28.

Still, the squabble and scrap didn't end well for some members. CHP member Ali Ihsan Kokturk got a bloodied nose and was taken to the hospital, while ruling party lawmaker Bayram Ozcelik's finger was broken in the brawl.

— Mel Bailey