Second punch-up in a week between MPs in Turkish parliament

Politicians fought each other over a controversial new security law

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The Independent Online

A second mass brawl in a week has broken out in Turkey's parliament as MPs debate a controversial new law.

The physical fight, which featured eye-gouging and striking with a ceremonial mallet, broke out during a legislative session on Thursday over a new security law.

Five Turkish MPs were previously injured in a similar altercation on Wednesday where chairs were used as weapons.

The country’s government wants to give state governors the power to order arrests and make it easier for police to crack down on demonstrations.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the new law is “aimed at protecting social order and social peace” but critics say it would amount to “state terror”.

MPs scuffle during the second fight this week

The legislation has become the latest battleground between the country’s government and Kurdish separatists.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has argued that it will mainly be used to supress Kurdish movements.

“The package destroys not just the peace process but all the peace dynamics in society. This is a bid to crush opposition,” said Selahattin Demirtas, the joint leader of the HDP.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a strong majority in parliament, but opposition representatives have tried to block the legislation using technical parliamentary loopholes. The first brawl took place after hours of delays.

Representatives fought each other with chairs and ceremonial mallets, as well as their bare hands.

Two MPs were hospitalised and three more were treated for their injuries at an on-site infirmary at the Grand National Assembly building on Atatürk Boulevard in Ankara.

The controversial new law comes amid criticism of the Erdoğan government’s increasingly heavy-handed approach to political opposition.

Dozens of people, including critical television producers and journalists were arrested late last year in what the government said was a crack-down on corruption.

The country’s president hit back over New Year, arguing that “nowhere in the world is the press freer than it is in Turkey”.

Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq have accused Turkey  of turning a blind eye to Isis fighters on its border in the hope that the conflict in the region will damage Kurdish nationalist organisations.