A Turkish parliamentary session descended into a massive brawl on Saturday, with opposing members of the legislative body throwing punches, water bottles, notebooks and even an iPad at each other.
The physical altercation that drew in a crowd of politicians began when the parliament was discussing a proposal to give the government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan more power to appoint judges and prosecutors. Irate lawmakers got physical, pushing, screaming and flinging objects at their rivals. Several present were seen capturing the undiplomatic scene on their phones.
Reuters, which had a reporter on site, wrote, “One MP leapt on a table and launched a flying kick as others wrestled and punched at each other, with document folders, plastic water bottles and even an iPad flying through the air.”
Witnesses told Reuters that the ruckus began after a representative of a judicial association tried to present a petition which said the proposed bill was anti-constitutional, but was not allowed to speak.
“If I am being kicked at here as a representative of the judiciary, all prosecutors and judges will be trampled on when this law passes,” Omer Faruk Eminagaoglu, head of the YARSAV professional association, said.
There is currently a wide-ranging corruption investigation underway in Turkey involving members of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Over the past month, Erdogan has removed hundreds of officers from the police force, while last week police detained two dozen people for questioning in relation to allegations of bribery and fraud.
Erdogan’s government dismissed three ministers in December after their sons were accused of involvement in illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects, the Associated Press reported.
Erdogan has framed the investigation as a “judicial coup” and as an effort by his opponents to harm his government two months before local elections.
Watch video of the brawl here: