Kurdistan Region lawmakers made clear to the European Parliament of their conviction that Turkey must release the jailed co-leaders and lawmakers of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Barzan Hassan said a Kurdish delegation from the Kurdistan Parliament presented the signatures of 40 lawmakers to officials from the European Parliament on Thursday as a show of support for jailed HDP politicians and co-leaders in Turkey. “We support the release of [Selahattin] Demirtas and his friends because they are Kurds”, lawmaker from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Salar Mahmoud, said. Mahmoud added they will meet with the deputy head of the European Parliament for talks on the same issue. The Kurdish politicians said they hoped that the European Parliament will consider the case of the HDP lawmakers’ detention by Turkey. Since the collapse of a ceasefire between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkey in 2015, the Turkish government has stepped up its campaign against Kurdish officials, including those from the HDP, accusing them of links to the PKK – an allegation the HDP denies.
The Vice President of the European Parliament and Rapporteur on Kosovo at the European Parliament Commission on Kosovo, Ulrike Lunace, declared during her visit in Pristina that blaming the others doesn’t help with the process of the liberalization of visas.