These attacks are only the latest escalation in an unceasing campaign of repression waged by the Erdoğan regime since the party’s inception.
Just last week over 700 HDP activists were arrested. At the same time, the Turkish Supreme Court confirmed a sentence of 16 years and 3 months for the ex co-mayor of Hakkari, Dilek Hatipoğlu, a representative of the HDP. On the 12th February she was transferred from Sincan prison to a high-security unit in Van where she was assaulted. After refusing to strip for a body search, she was beaten by three officers off-camera and her clothes were forcibly removed.
On the very same day, Turkish prosecutors filed charges relating to demonstrations that took place during the Battle of Kobane against nine HDP members of parliament, among them the party’s co-president Pervin Buldan.
On the 2nd October 2020, 17 other HDP politicians had been arrested for their involvement in Kobane protests. The party’s two former co-presidents Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who have been detained since 2016, have also been tried for participation in the protests.
The demonstrations in support of Kobane were called by the HDP in support of the city’s resistance against ISIS. The protests were met with force by the Turkish army, resulting in the deaths of 43 people. For calling these protests, HDP leading figures are being accused of terrorism and of bringing about the deaths of those killed by the Turkish army. In the case of Selahattin Demirtaș, these charges were deemed by the European Court of Human Rights to be unfounded. Currently, the HDP MPs Garo Paylan, Huda Kaya, Sezai Temelli, Pero Dundar, Fatma Kurtulan and Serpil Kemalbay are facing the same charges, along with the two vicepresidente of the HDP’s parliamentary group Meral Danis Bestas and Hakkı Saruhan Oluç, and the party co-president Pervin Buldan. Since the 2018 general election, over 800 cases have been brought against HDP members of parliament.
Finally, on the 19th February the Turkish Supreme Court confirmed the 2-and-a-half-year prison sentence of the HDP MP for Kocaeli, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, paving the way for his removal from parliament. Gergerlioğlu was found guilty of “spreading terrorist propaganda” on the basis of a social media post but was elected to parliament later in the same year. Gergerlioğlu is likely to meet the same fate as fellow party members Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğlu, who were stripped last year of their seats in parliament following confirmation of sentences.
We are outraged at this campaign of persecution being waged on a peaceful, democratic organisation and ask that all who share our values stand with us in answering stand with us in answering the HDP’s call for international solidarity. Erdoğan’s reign of terror must be stopped!