Gergerlioğlu: I won’t turn myself in, they can come and take me by force

Sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison for tweeting a news story about the Resolution Process for the Kurdish question and stripped of his MP status on March 17 after the ruling was upheld by the Court of Cassation, Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has been sent a notification urging him to turn himself in.

The notification sent by the Kocaeli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has indicated that Gergerlioğlu shall go to the public prosecutor’s office within 10 days; otherwise, a detention warrant will be issued.

Speaking to bianet, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu says that he received the prosecutor’s notification yesterday morning (March 22).

“I won’t go and turn myself in. Where I live is known, they can come and take me by force. I am not stripped of my MP status, I am still an MP. I am stripped of MP status with tyranny,” underlines Gergerlioğlu, adding that he will make an application to the Constitutional Court today and file an annulment action against his expulsion from Parliament.

‘Demanding peace is not a crime’

After he was briefly detained during his justice watch at the Parliament on Sunday (March 21), Gergerlioğlu now keeps the watch at his house. He comments on the court case cited as the reason for his expulsion from Parliament and what has happened since then as follows:

“Both my judicial process and what happened at the Parliament on Sunday is a legal scandal. It is a political case. Demanding peace is not a crime. Tweeting a news story containing a call for peace is not a crime. But all these were portrayed as a crime. The news is still available online, everyone reads it. There is not a single person who says that it has a crime element.

“Moreover, the trial should have halted, but they did not halt it. They gave the sentence despite the objection of a judge from the Court of Cassation. They didn’t wait for the application to the Constitutional Court.

“They should have waited until the time in office as an MP ended, but they didn’t do it. They read out this ruling -which is legally null and void- at the Parliament. This ruling is null and void.

‘I am expelled with plots and tricks’

“They expelled a person, the deputy of 83 million people sent to Parliament by the nation, with plots and tricks. I kept a justice watch at the Parliament; there was no show or slogan, there was nothing. They couldn’t tolerate it, either. They took me out of the Parliament by battering me. They didn’t even let me perform my morning prayers. They detected that I was on my way to my morning prayers and set up a trap. They locked up advisors in the rooms so that they would not take pictures or videos.

“They shared a fake video from five years ago, we allegedly walked by chanting slogans. While we were leaving the Parliamentary General Assembly Hall on March 17, several journalists captured this moment. Even though they knew it, they took minutes and those minutes were sent to the prosecutor’s office. The fake video underwent official proceedings.

‘They fabricated a crime to take me out’

“They issued a detention warrant with a fiction. Their agenda was to take me out of the Parliament. They fabricated a crime to take me out of the Parliament. They detained me, then released me because the detention was based on a lie. We have filed a criminal complaint against all officials, including the Parliamentary Speaker and the Prosecutor.

“I said, ‘Just wait for five minutes, let me perform my morning prayers and change my clothes.’ But they didn’t let me, they wanted to hurt my reputation. They held me by the arm while I was in my pyjamas and took me out of the Parliament in haste.

‘I waited in slippers, pyjamas for hours’

“I had just performed an ablution, my feet were still wet when we went out, it was ice cold outside. The windows of the detention room were open as well. It was cold and I waited in slippers and pyjamas for hours.

“My deposition took 7 hours, they didn’t take down my statement. They didn’t allow me to perform my prayers and they didn’t want to add my words ‘They battered me’ to the minutes. They said, ‘They will be omitted’ and deleted them. We are talking about an environment where there is not even the slightest bit of law.

‘We will appeal to Constitutional Court’

“We will apply to the Constitutional Court. I am calling on the Constitutional Court to fulfil its duty. It can hand down an emergency ruling. This scandal can come to an end. I can return to Parliament, like Enis Berberoğlu [of the main opposition Republican People’s Party / CHP].

“But the state of the judiciary in the country is obvious. The Parliamentary Speaker receives instructions from [Nationalist Movement Party / MHP Chair Devlet] Bahçeli. I won’t go, where I live is known, they can come and take me by force. I am not stripped of my MP status or something. I am an MP. I am stripped of my MP status with tyranny.

‘I will keep defending human rights’

“Even if I am sent to prison, I will keep on speaking for justice. They can strip me of my MP status all they want, they can put me in dungeons all they want… I will keep on saying the same things.

“I am declared a terrorist because I said what I had said during the resolution process after the resolution process as well.

“Defending human rights was the right thing, these things happened to me because I did the right thing. They approached me hostilely, they gave me an execution warrant. It was as if they said, ‘Bring me his head’.

“I have a clear conscience, I have no doubts about my ablution. I did the right things and I will keep on doing so.”

What happened?

HDP Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on February 21, 2018 on the grounds of a social media post from 2016. This ruling given by the Kocaeli 2nd Heavy Penal Court has recently been upheld by the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.

Speaking shortly after this ruling was handed down, Gergerlioğlu said that the verdict was “political”, adding, “Strip searches, abductions, tortures… Some people got disturbed by us talking about all these.”

He also made an application to the Constitutional Court. However, the final ruling of the court was read out at the Plenary Session of the Parliament on March 17, 2021 and he was stripped of his MP duty. He did not leave the Parliament in protest, starting a justice watch.

During his justice watch, he was detained at the Parliament as part of a new investigation on March 21 and released after giving his statement.