PES condemns further attempts to silence HDP by Erdoğan regime

25/09/2020

Protesters detained by Turkish police

Protesters detained by Turkish police during demonstrations in October 2014. Photo: Belga/Xinhua/Mert Macit 

The PES strongly condemns the Turkish government for yet another politically motivated attempt to silence the People’s Democratic party (HDP). The PES stands in solidarity with HDP and against this further crackdown on democratic opposition in Turkey.

Today, news broke that Turkish authorities are seeking to arrest 82 people, including democratically elected mayor of Kars Mr Ayhan Bilgen, and former MPs such as Ms Ayla Akat Ata, Mr Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Ms Emine Ayna, and Mr Nazmi Gür.

The arrest warrants have been issued in relation to demonstrations that took place six years ago, when protests emerged in Turkey opposing the seizure of Kobane by ISIS fighters. Turkish prosecutors have not specified what offences the 82 people are alleged to have committed.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“This is yet another abuse of power from the Erdoğan regime as it attempts to silence legitimate, democratic, opposition. The PES condemns this behaviour. European socialists and democrats stand in complete solidarity with HDP and we are ready to offer any support we can. We continue to follow developments in Turkey very closely.

“This crackdown is the latest attack on democracy by President Erdoğan. He will seemingly use any excuse to hold onto power, including by targeting democratically elected mayors who oppose him. This is completely unacceptable. Democracy and the rule of law must be upheld.”

In May, the PES condemned a wave of arrests in Turkey which saw 45 democratically elected HDP mayors removed and replaced by government appointees. This new wave of arrests seeks to go further and remove yet more elected HDP politicians. Seven former HDP lawmakers, including its former chairman Selahattin Demirtas, also remain in prison.

Last month the PES expressed its shock and sadness that lawyer Ebru Timtik – another political prisoner in Turkey – had died on hunger strike as she fought for a fair trial.