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Stop Erdogan's crackdown: Global solidarity statements with the HDP & democratic forces in Turkey

 

 

HDP faces closure after the appeal of the Chief Public Prosecutor to the Constitutional Court

By Feleknas Uca & Hişyar Özsoy, HDP’s Co-spokespersons for Foreign Affairs

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is under a ferocious attack by the AKP government, which was squeezed out of key cities in the local elections and faces immense economic problems exacerbated by the pandemic. On 17 March 2021, the final ruling against HDP parliamentarian Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was read out at the plenary session of the Parliament and he was stripped of his status as a deputy. A few hours later, it came out that the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation has filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court to ban the HDP altogether. These attacks against the HDP have come briefly after President Erdoğan declared a new Human Rights Action Plan, which was promoted as including reforms on law and human rights.

On 2 March 2021, Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation launched an inquiry into the HDP in relation to the indictment against nine HDP deputies over the ‘Kobane protests’ that took place in October 2014. Two weeks later, the prosecutor stated in the indictment that the HDP, through the actions and statements of its members, had attempted “to destroy and eliminate the indivisible integrity of the Turkish state with its nation.” It is important to note that both the inquiry and closure lawsuit came after repeated calls of Devlet Bahçeli, the chair of the government allied Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on Turkey’s high courts to ban the HDP.

In Turkey, the closure of political parties, especially pro-Kurdish parties, is not historically exceptional. Up to now, the Constitutional Court has banned six pro-Kurdish political parties. The first, the People’s Labor Party (HEP), was established on 7 June 1990. The HEP joined the Social Democrat Party (SHP) for Turkey’s 1991 general elections and gained 22 seats in the Turkish Grand Assembly. In July 1993, the Constitutional Court banned the HEP. Following its closure, the Freedom and Democracy Party (OZDEP) was founded in May 1993. On 23 November1993, OZDEP was also banned. The Democracy Party (DEP) succeeded it. In March 1994, the Turkish parliament lifted the immunity of six DEP MPs and these MPs were later sentenced to 15 years in prison on “terror charges”. On 16 June 1994, the Constitutional Court banned the DEP. Then, the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) was founded on 11 May 1994. In the local elections in 1999, HADEP won 37 municipalities across the Kurdish region, including seven major Kurdish cities. Yet, in March 2003, the Turkish Constitutional Court banned HADEP, too. On 9 November 2005, the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded. Its candidates ran independently in the 2007 general election and it gained 22 seats in the Turkish parliament. In the 2009 local elections, the DTP won mayorships in over 100 cities and towns in the Kurdish region. Turkey’s Constitutional Court banned the party on 11 December 2009.

As can be seen, the HDP has inherited a history of harassment and closures, and although President Erdoğan had claimed several times in the past that he was opposed to the closure of political parties, his AKP has taken over Turkey’s repressive policy against the Kurds and other minorities. The HDP has already been under intense political pressure from the government. And now we are on the verge of another disgraceful attempt to eliminate a political party.

This latest phase of intense attack started with the Turkish government’s termination of the Kurdish peace process in 2015 and intensified under emergency rule in 2016 when our former co-chairs, Mr Selahattin Demirtaş and Ms Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested along with several other deputies. (The case against Mr Demirtaş was recently concluded by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The chamber ruled for his immediate release - a ruling that the Turkish government has refused to execute so far.) The attack has continued with the arrest of other deputies and the stripping of 11 HDP deputies of their parliamentary mandate. Since then, thousands of HDP administrators and members have faced detentions and arrests, and hardly a day passes without more being added to the list. Local government representatives have also received their share of these attacks. In 2016, close to one hundred Kurdish municipalities were usurped and taken over by government-appointed officials, and many of the Kurdish co-mayors were arrested. The Turkish government continued with this colonial policy over Kurdish towns and cities after the local elections of 31 March 2019. So far, 48 out of 65 HDP-run municipalities have seen their elected mayors replaced by appointed trustees. Six other HDP co-mayors were denied their election certificates after they won their elections, with the excuse that they had previously been dismissed from their jobs by emergency rule decrees. As of today, 14 Kurdish co-mayors elected in March 2019 and several mayors elected in 2014 remain behind bars.

HDP is more than a few buildings and formal political entity. We do represent diverse political histories and a powerful sociology of multiple struggles for recognition and justice. We assure you that the historical struggles and political traditions upon which the HDP was established in the first place will continue to deeply impact Turkish and Kurdish politics toward a genuine democratic transformation of the country, even if the HDP may not be able to survive this onslaught as a political entity.

The oppression of the government on the HDP and other democratic forces will surely intensify in the months ahead, and so will our struggle. We hereby invite once again the international democratic community to take a principled stance, further strengthen international solidarity, and act against these pitiful political moves by the AKP government to ban the HDP and deny the will of millions of people.

Stop Erdogan's crackdown – Solidarity with the HDP & democratic forces in Turkey

Joint statement by Manon Aubry and Martin Schirdewan, Co-Presidents of The Left group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL and Tiny Kox, President of the European Left group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

We, members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and we, members of the European Parliament, emphatically condemn the new brutal attempts of the Turkish authorities to lift the immunity of parliamentarians of the elected opposition and to eventually close the HDP, third largest group in the Turkish Parliament, as a party. All these attempts go against the fundamental rules of democracy, to which Turkey has obliged itself when becoming a member State of the Council of Europe.

We consider it a flagrant violation of its national and international obligations that the Turkish authorities have put so many of elected parliamentarians, including former HDP co-chairs Mr Demirtaş and Mrs Yüksekdağ, and other elected representatives, including a large number of HDP-mayors, in prison for already such a long time. The stripping of Mr Gergerlioğlu’s parliamentary membership by order of the government despite the judicial process still being uncompleted intensifies the concerns on the status of the parliamentary system in Turkey. Elected politicians do not belong in prison but in Parliament and in the public debate.

The ongoing, illegal refusal of the Turkish authorities to release Mr Demirtaş after the final decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is a clear and unacceptable violation of Turkish obligations as a member State of the Council of Europe. Defying Court decision cannot continue without consequences.

We appreciate that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has recently reviewed the case of Demirtaş vs. Turkey in its March meeting and asked Turkish authorities to implement the decision of the Grand Chamber and release Mr Demirtaş immediately. There are thousands of people in Turkey who have been imprisoned with politically motivated charges like Mr Demirtaş.

We urge the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, its Secretary General as well as its Parliamentary Assembly, to take all necessary steps to oblige the Turkish authorities to live up to their commitments. We ask all other political groups in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and in the European Parliament to support these calls and use all their influence to end this blatant violation by Turkey of its essential obligations under the Statute of the Council of Europe, and to finally respect its obligations towards its own citizens and the international community.

We demand that the European Council, at its upcoming 25/26 March meeting that will also discuss EU-Turkey relations, addresses the severe human rights violations with the necessary priority and insists on Turkey implementing its human rights action plan and legal reforms as announced.

We encourage all those who strive to protect and promote respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Turkey, to continue their just struggle and we offer them our solidarity and support.

Condemn the attempts to ban the Peoples' Democratic Party of Turkey 

By Socialist Alliance national co-convenors

Socialist Alliance Australia has long expressed our solidarity with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey and we stand again to condemn the latest attempts by the authoritarian Erdoğan regime to ban the party.

The HDP represents an important voice for justice, democracy and freedom in Turkey and needs to be heard not stifled. The long running campaign of repression by the Turkish regime is an affront to democracy and needs to be resisted everywhere.

Turkish authorities using dubious excuses have arrested and imprisoned numerous elected mayors and parliamentarians and party leaders. The HDP has strong support in the Kurdish majority areas of Turkey and the government's repression is an attack on the democratic rights of the Kurdish minority.

The latest attempts to ban the HDP — a party which millions of people have voted for and has significant representation in the national parliament — is an unlawful, undemocratic action which violates civil and political rights of the Turkish people.

For four years, the former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş has been held in prison even though the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that he should be released. This unjust detention is also faced by many opposition members, members of parliament, mayors and journalists.

We call on the Turkish authorities to immediately halt the ban proceedings, stop the repression against the HDP and to release all HDP elected representatives from prison.

Further, we call on the Australian government to immediately make a public statement calling for release of HDP representatives from detention and of opposition to the Turkish government's attempts to ban the HDP.

Turkey: Stop the repression on HDP!

Released by Choo Chon Kai, Central Committee Member, Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

Socialist Party of Malaysia strongly condemns the ban proceedings against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey. The threat of banning HDP came after years of repression on the democratic opposition forces in Turkey.

On 17th March 2021, the top public prosecutor of the high court of appeals has filed a case with the constitutional court to demand the closure of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey which received close to six million votes in 2018 general election. The proceedings to ban HDP came on the same day that the government stripped off HDP parliamentarian Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s status as a member of parliament.

After the outrageous impeachment of many Kurdish mayors since 2019 and stripping off a number of HDP parliamentarians from their positions, the Turkish authorities are now moving to ban a democratic party for which millions of people have voted for. This is unlawful, undemocratic and a violation of civil and political rights. It shown that the authoritarian regime of Erdogan wants to clear his main opposition out of the way.

For four years, the former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş has been innocently in prison, like so many opposition members, members of parliament, mayors and journalists.

We call on the Turkish authorities to immediately halt the ban proceedings, stop the repression against the HDP and to release all HDP elected representatives from prison.

We stand in solidarity with the HDP in their fight against this repression.

PLM statement on Turkey: Stop the Repression Against the HDP

By Party of the Laboring Masses

The Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM) Philippines strongly condemn the ban proceedings against the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey as an affront to democracy and we stand with the HDP against this repression.

After the outrageous impeachment of many Kurdish mayors, the Turkish authorities now are moving to ban a democratic party for which millions of people have voted for.

This is unlawful, undemocratic and a violation of civil and political rights.

For four years, the former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş has been innocently in prison, like so many opposition members, members of parliament, mayors and journalists.

We call on the Turkish authorities to immediately halt the ban proceedings, stop the repression against the HDP and to release all HDP elected representatives from prison.

Indonesian party sends solidarity message to the HDP

By Dominggus Oktavianus, General Secretary of People's Democratic Party (Partai Rakyat Demokratik - PRD) of Indonesia.

Dominggus Oktavianus, General Secretary of People's Democratic Party (Partai Rakyat Demokratik - PRD) of Indonesia, issued a solidarity statement with the HDP.

The statement says: “The People's Democratic Party – PRD - strongly condemns the ban proceedings against the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey as an affront to democracy and we stand with the HDP against this repression.”

The statement added: “After the outrageous impeachment of many Kurdish mayors, the Turkish authorities now are moving to ban a democratic party for which millions of people have voted for. This is unlawful, undemocratic and a violation of civil and political rights.

For four years, the former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş has been innocently in prison, like so many opposition members, members of parliament, mayors and journalists.”

The Indonesian party called “on the Turkish authorities to immediately halt the ban proceedings, stop the repression against the HDP and to release all HDP elected representatives from prison.”

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