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.
Lawmakers in the Kurdistan Parliament called on the international community to work towards the release of officials from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP). A number of lawmakers gathered in front of the Kurdistan Parliament’s office in Sulaimani on Wednesday (April 19) calling on the international community to intervene and help release the Kurdish parties’ officials in Turkey. Lawmaker from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Salar Mahmoud, said during a press conference that all the Kurdistan Parliament lawmakers support the release of the HDP and DBP officials. “We call on the international community so that the HDP and DBP [officials] are released”, Mahmoud said, adding that the release of the officials would help bring peace to Turkey.
Selahattin Demirtas, the arrested co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), has requested his release from jail in a petition written to the Eighth Heavy Penal Court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. Demirtas, who is currently jailed in the northwestern province of Edirne, stated in the petition that he was arrested with “an exaggerated and non-proportional raid aimed at creating a political sensation”. “We have no doubt that the [arrests of HDP lawmakers] are being directed from a center” he said, noting that 31 summaries of proceedings were prepared for him and 11 of the prosecutors who prepared them had themselves been arrested for being members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), believed to have been behind Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup attempt. “My indictment was increased to 501 pages and the sentence being sought for me was determined as 142 years in order to create a negative perception in the public. They wanted to create the impression that my arrest was necessary” Demirtas added. The HDP co-chair said in his petition that his right to a fair trial was violated and his rights stemming from being a deputy were seized from him through his arrest. At present a total of 11 HDP figures, including Demirtas and the HDP’s other co-chair, Figen Yüksekdag, remain in prison and face hundreds of years in jail.
A court in the western province of İzmir has accepted an indictment against the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) co-chair and two other party lawmakers on terror charges, seeking up to five years in jail, a judiciary source said on Nov. 28. The İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office had charged HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, who is in jail on terror charges, and HDP deputy Erdal Ataş with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if all legal avenues are exhausted in Turkey regarding their arrested deputies. The Kurdish issue-focused party appealed for the release of 10 of its lawmakers arrested on “terror” charges on Nov. 4, including its co-chairs.