ANKARA (AFP) - Violent scuffles erupted on Monday in the Turkish parliament between opposition and ruling party lawmakers over the formation of a commission into the radical Islamist threat in neighbouring Iraq.
Punches were thrown, suits grabbed and deputies pinned to the ground in the latest flare-up in the fractious parliament, days ahead of a presidential election where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will seek to move to become head of state.
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmakers demanded that a parliamentary commission be set up to investigate the actions of the Islamic State militant group, which abducted dozens of Turkish citizens in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the private NTV television reported.
During the vote on the proposal, MHP deputy Ali Uzunirmak accused rivals from Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of casting votes for absent deputies, calling them "dishonest".
AKP deputy Mustafa Sahin became engaged in verbal arguments with the MHP lawmaker which quickly descended into fistfighting.
Pictures from the parliament showed Sahin's nose bleeding, while Uzun suffered head injuries, according to NTV.
But this was not the end. More fighting erupted when MHP deputy Sinan Ogan clashed with AKP lawmakers in parliament.
Ogan, who fell on the ground, received injuries to his face, which prompted an end to the parliament session.
Ogan later took to Twitter, describing his AKP opponents as "dogs" who had ganged up on him.
"They cannot even come as five against one person. 60 people attacked me all together but they got their response," Mr Ogan wrote.
"With God's help, we are defending the rights of the Turkish people in parliament. The number of AKP dogs we face doesn't matter."