HDP MP stripped of his deputyship despite the judicial process still being uncompleted.

Statement by HDP Foreign Affairs Co-spokespersons Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy: 

HDP MP, Mr. Gergerlioğlu, stripped of his deputyship by order of the government despite the judicial process still being uncompleted.

The final ruling against HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) parliamentarian Mr Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has beenread out at the plenary session of the Parliament today (17 March 2021) and he has been stripped of his deputyship status.

As his prison sentence of 2,5 years for asocial media post made 5years ago has been upheld by the Court of Cassation, this will pave the way for his imprisonment. Mr Gergerlioğlu will remain1 year 10 months behind bars.

First, we must stress that to consider social media posts that do not praise or encourage violence as criminal acts of terrorist propaganda violates several fundamental rights and freedoms, primarily freedom of expression, which was also recently highlighted by the ruling of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Demirtas vs. Turkey.

While the democratic publics at home and abroad have been demanding and waiting for the Turkish government to execute decisions of the ECtHR and comply with the international law, imprisoning yet another HDP deputy for just retweeting a news that calls for the resumption of Kurdish peace process is not simply unlawful but also shows the status of fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey.

It also reveals the true intention of the government regarding the human rights action plan that President Erdogan has recently announced with much fanfare.

Further, Turkish law sets out the following process for ending an elected member’s parliamentary membership. An official communication prepared by the Presidency about the final court decision on the member of the parliament is sent to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office. Then, if the decision is declared by the General Assembly, the deputy’s membership of the parliament will cease directly. However, Mr. Gergerlioğlu has made an individual appeal to the Constitutional Court and the judicial process has not been completed. Although the recent example of CHP deputy Enis Berberoglu demonstrates that it is possibleto re-gain parliamentary membership, the deputy speaker of the parliament let the court decision of Mr. Gergerlioğluo be read out. Termination of parliamentary membership due to conviction is quite exceptional in the history of Turkish parliament. Yet, in June 2020, two more deputies of the HDP, Ms Leyla Güven and Mr Musa Farisoğulları were stripped of their deputy ships due to convictions. It is normally a parliamentary custom to withhold the decision on a member until the end of the legislative term. This does not apply to HDP deputies, apparently. There are currently 13 former members of the parliament, including HDP’s former co-chairs Mr SelahattinDemirtas and Ms Figen Yuksekdag, behind bars. Mr Gergerlioglu will be the fourteenth.