A heated debate in Turkish parliament relating to a massive corruption scandal turned into a full-on melee today with punches, flying kicks, and thrown iPads. Turkey has been rocked in recent weeks by allegations of graft that have beleaguered Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party.
The issue at hand in the Saturday parliament session was a bill that would grant the government greater control in the appointment of judges and prosecutors, which, to be fair, is a useful tool to have when you're enmeshed in a corruption scandal. When a lawmaker tried to submit a petition calling the government bill "anti-constitutional" and was told he wouldn't be allowed to speak, things got a little bit crazy.
"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," according a Reuters reporter who was present. (There is some grainy accompanying footage.)
While this was going on inside of parliament in Ankara, tens of thousands of Turkish citizens were protesting outside against Erdogan. Despite reshuffling his cabinet and firing several ministers, the nearly month-old corruption scandal continues to weaken Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003. In a bid to quell the protests, the government also submitted a bill this week that would tightened its control over the internet in Turkey.