The ongoing unlawful state practices against the HDP have gained a new character.
Deputy Co-chair of HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Hişyar Özsoy released a statement regarding HDP Co-Chair Figen Yuksekdağ’s losing her parliamentary seat, the sentencing of HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Dermirtaş and re-arrest of HDP deputy chair of parliamentary group İdris Baluken.
The statement underlined that the ongoing unlawful state practices against the HDP have gained a new character with three coordinated and synchronized “legal” decisions on the same day, February 21, 2017, when HDP’s co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ’s parliament membership was revoked, co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş received a five-month prison sentence, and Deputy Chair of HDP Parliamentary Group İdris Baluken was re-arrested and sent back to prison.
HDP recalled that: “Co-chair Yüksekdağ lost her parliamentary seat due to a ten-month prison sentence. The seventh Assize Court in Adana had sentenced Yüksekdağ to ten-month prison sentence on 27 November 2013 with the charge of “making terrorist propaganda.” Although Yüksekdağ had been elected as a deputy for Van both on June 7th and November 1st elections and acquired parliamentary immunity in 2015, the 16th Chamber of Court of Cassation continued with the review process and approved the sentence on 22 September 2016.
Approximately 5 months following this approval, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli sent to the plenary the official paper and its appendix issued by Ministry of Justice, which ordered the revocation of Yüksekdağ’s seat in the parliament. When this official paper was read at the plenary session on 21 February 2017, Yüksekdağ lost her seat.”
Remarking that both the sentence and its approval by the Court of Cassation violate the Turkish law and Constitution., HDP underlined that: “The Court of Cassation continued with reviewing Yüksekdağ’s case despite her legislative immunity. More importantly, the three judges who had sentenced Yüksekdağ were dismissed with the accusation of having links to the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the failed coup attempt in July 2016, while the prosecutor of Yüksekdağ’s case is currently under arrest for the same charges. Only these facts require a re-review of Yüksekdağ’s case.”
Recalling that HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, in prison since 4 November 2016, received a five-month prison sentence on the same day, the HDP statement said: “The timing is not coincidental. The Second Court of First Instance in Doğubeyazıt convicted Demirtaş with the charge of “defaming the Turkish government and state institutions” in a speech he delivered on 19 March 2016. As Demirtaş also stated in his defense at the hearing, opposition politicians who criticize the policies of the government should not and cannot be prosecuted. This prison sentence clearly aims at intimidating anyone who opposes the AKP-Erdoğan regime in Turkey. Our co-chairs and deputies are being excluded from the political field and deprived of their political rights. They should be carrying out the referendum campaign now, and not being questioned at courtrooms with groundless accusations.”
Finally, on the same day, İdris Baluken, who had been released from prison on 30 January 2017 after 3 months of imprisonment, was re-arrested after he had been dispatched from the hospital where he had a surgery.
“The arrest order of Baluken does not have a precedent in the history of Turkish law. Upon the prosecutor’s objection to the release of Baluken, a court totally unrelated to Baluken’s case issued a warrant sixteen days after his release. Baluken is still in recovery process and his treatment cannot continue under improper prison conditions.
These synchronized “legal” decisions targeting our co-chairs and deputy chair of parliamentary group are an urgent call to all international entities, first and foremost to the EU, CoE and the PACE authorities, to take immediate action. The democratic international public and institutions should not turn a blind eye on this sheer unlawfulness against the HDP; they should go beyond releasing statements of concern and take urgent and concrete action. President Erdoğan’s thoroughly politicized and partisan legal system is dragging the country into a much deeper chaos in the run-up to the referendum and under state of emergency rule, sowing the seeds of more political violence by wiping out the already suffocated democratic political life in the country.”
The HDP statement added: “Anybody who is worried about the democratic future of Turkey should act without any delay. The weak nature of responses from the international community is emboldening President Erdoğan in his ruthless repression campaign against the opposition, first and foremost the HDP, to win in the referendum.”