PES calls for the release of Selahattin Demirtas after Ankara court acquittal


Selahattin Demirtas and Sergei Stanishev

Selahattin Demirtas and Sergei Stanishev during a PES European Council preperation meeting, March 2016

The Party of European Socialists calls for the immediate release of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of our associate member party HDP, who was absolved of allegations of terrorism yesterday by a court in Ankara.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“By keeping him in prison, Turkey is violating Selahattin’s rights as well as the political rights of the Turkish people. Like we previously said, these charges are politically motivated and their only purpose is to remove the democratic opposition. We demand that Demirtas be freed immediately.”

Yesterday, the Court in Ankara completely cleared Demirtas of the allegations, but another conviction for ‘terrorist propaganda’ still stands, although it was found to be illegal by the European Court of Human Rights in July.

Stanishev said:

“Selahattin is a fighter for human rights and democratic freedoms, for not only the Kurdish minority but for all Turkish citizens. His only crime has been to work for a democratic, progressive Turkey. He has been kept in prison for almost three years for that. Turkey is in violation of the Human Rights Convention."

The PES supports its member parties in Turkey – the People's Democratic Party, HDP, and the Republican People’s Party, CHP – and we will continue to stand by them when their rights, and the rights of their members, are attacked.