PES pledges solidarity with imprisoned Turkish MPs

20/02/2018

Giacomo at HDP congress

The Party of European Socialists stands with its friends and allies in Turkey in their fight for human rights and the rule of law, and against political oppression, PES secretary general Giacomo Filibeck told the congress of Halkların Demokratik Partisi (People's Democratic Party, HDP) last week.

Speaking to assembled delegates in Ankara on behalf of the PES, Mr Filibeck said:

"We are here today with you to show that you are not alone. I want our message to reach out beyond this hall, to all the citizens of this beautiful country who know that their country is not made stronger or more secure by a lack of basic civil and political rights, lack of respect of rule of law, systematic violation of human rights. On the contrary, these things will make it weak, by spreading fear and killing hope.

"Socialist, social democratic and progressive parties from the Party of European Socialists are here instead to defend hope, to support a vision of a truly democratic society where diversity is respected and where every woman and man is equal before the law."

Mr Filibeck also reacted to the imprisonment of six journalists over the weekend, adding:

"We are appalled at the trumped-up charges raised against six journalists and media professionals by Erdoğan’s regime, resulting in outrageous prison sentences this weekend. The PES is a staunch defender of press freedom as one of the fundamental prerequisites for a democratic society, and we will continue to fight for the rights of journalists in Turkey."

The HDP’s leaders, Selahattin Demirtaş  and Figen Yüksekdağ, have been imprisoned on politically-motivated charges since 2016, along with a large number of other MPs from HDP and from Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (Republican People's Party, CHP), another PES associate member.

The PES has consistently campaigned for a return to democracy and rule of law in Turkey, leading a series of delegations since their imprisonment, and most recently with a declaration at the PES Council in Lisbon calling for the release of all political prisoners.