As part of the lawsuit filed against 108 people over Kobanê protests from seven years ago, the court started reviewing the arrest of 28 politicians.
While Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) former Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ are also among the arrested defendants of the case, all arrested politicians except for Aysel Tuğluk and Bülent Parmaksız, who are having health problems, attended the interlocutory hearing via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS).
Following their press statement in front of the courthouse, HDP MPs Hüseyin Kaçmaz, Sait Dede, Tülay Hatimoğulları, Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir and Oya Ersoy also followed the interlocutory hearing.
The hearing attended by the attorneys started with the indentity check. Afterwards, the prosecutor presented the opinion as to the accusations.
The prosecutor stated that there was strong criminal suspicion and concrete evidence against 28 people, adding that arrest was a proportional measure and judicial control measures would not suffice.
As reported by Mezopotamya Agency, the prosecutor also referred to Demirtaş, for whom the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) gave a ruling of right violation and immediate release. The prosecutor said, “It is understood that the defenses have not yet been taken, the arrest as part of the file and the ECtHR ruling in question is not related to our file.”
The prosecutor demanded that the arrest of all arrested politicians continue.
|Issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the 3,530-page indictment demands aggravated life sentence and hundreds of years in prison for 108 people on charges of “disturbing the unity of the state and integrity of the country” and “murder” for 37 times.|
Demirtaş: A vile indictment
After the prosecutor’s opinion as to the accusations, the hearing continued with the defense statements of defendants.
Selahattin Demirtaş, the arrested former Co-Chair of the HDP, took the floor first. Referring to the indictment of the closure case filed against the HDP, Demirtaş defined the indictment as “vile” and said that they rejected the indictment. He also stated that he did not ask for his own release, but requested the release of all other arrested politicians.
Yüksekdağ: Case is a bundle of contradictions
Taking the floor after Demirtaş, Figen Yüksedağ, the other arrested former Co-Chair of the HDP, briefly said:
“We have no special request for our own release. But we demand in the name of the country that this scandal be brought to an end. This is something that pushes Turkey into a travesty. An end needs to be put to this.
“The course of the trial shows quite clearly why this trial is held. We do not demand release, but we demand that you act in compliance with the law. What review of arrest will you make? Which state of our arrest will you review? This trial is a bundle of contradictions for this reason.”
Tuncel: A copy-paste indictment
In her defense statement after Yüksekdağ, Sebahat Tuncel also said, “There are so many contradictions in the indictment… How did your court accept this? The government had it made to order.”
Referring to the closure case filed against the HDP and the recent calls of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chair Devlet Bahçeli for the closure of the Constitutional Court, Sebahat Tuncel said, “We are faced with such a situation. This situation has no seriousness. You are trying the politicians of a party which underpins the democracy of Turkey.”
Underlining that “the indictment was prepared in a haste and copy-paste manner,” Tuncel said, “There is no concrete evidence apart from this. It is a grave situation on the part of Turkey. Will you solve the Kurdish question in courtrooms that have turned into a theater stage? You are trying to make it fit into due procedure. No justice will come out of this.”
Concluding her remarks, Tuncel said, “We do not want release or something because of this reason. But if you have respect for the law and your own laws, you need to release all our friends here.”
Kışanak: A pitch-black mark
Taking the floor afterwards, Gültan Kışanak said, “I will not call out to the court board. Because the court board also knows that this indictment has gone down in Turkey’s legal history as a pitch-black mark.”
Further in her statement, Kışanak called on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to confront them, briefly saying:
“May the racist alliance confront us so that we tell them what we have to say. We have paid the price, I will continue paying it, too. I don’t want anything for myself, but I want the freedom of all other friends of ours.”
Ata: I want freedom, not release
Ayla Akat Ata also made her defense and said:
“We are talking about a case which was filed after 6 years. The indictment has at least formed a chronology about October 6-7-8.
“I was also a person attacked in that period. While I should have been added to the file as a complainant, I am now standing trial.
“Perhaps there is something good in the opening of this case. It will put forward the investigation and trial in the name of every person killed in that process. But we are standing trial now. Neither what you say nor what we say will have any effect on the scope of this file. For this reason, I do not want release for myself, but I want freedom for all my friends.”
Üstün: An entirely political interference
Taking the floor afterwards, Beyza Üstün said that “the trial is devoid of the law”, defining the trial as “an entirely political interference.”
She briefly added, “This is an interference in democracy and in the entire program of the HDP. But we will not make any concessions from our politics in any way at all. We are pursuing trailblazing politics in Turkey. It was for this very reason that the Kobanê investigation was launched after 6 years. What happened that the button was pressed after 6 years?”
Ayna: I will file a case against prosecutor
Emine Ayna said in her defense:
“As a person who has long quitted politics, I feel like doing politics. The main trial will start on April 26. There are so many things that I want to say out loud about the indictment, but I will save them for April 26.
“I asked my lawyer to file a lawsuit against the prosecutor’s office immediately. Because there is not the tiniest connection between the offenses charged and the evidence cited in the indictment.
“The evidence consists of the statements that we made in a number of places. It says that I wanted freedom for [jailed PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan in those speeches. What does it have to do with this? I will elaborate on them one by one on April 26. But there is nothing that requires the continuation of my arrest. For this reason, I request my release.”
Adıbelli: Allegations are not lawful
Meryem Adıbelli and Zeynep Ölbeci made their defense in Kurdish. Defining the indictment as “hollow from the top to the bottom”, Adıbelli said, “There is nothing to be brought against us as a crime. I do not find the case and the allegations against us lawful. This is a political file from the top to the bottom. For this reason, I want the release of both myself and my friends.”
Ölbeci also said, “They want to scare us with this case. They tried this on Kurdish women so many times before, but we don’t fear and we don’t step back. Because we are right. When Erdoğan said, ‘Kobanê is falling’, ISIS was kidnapping Êzîdî women. Just as we did not accept the persecution of Kurdish women yesterday, we do not accept it today, either. I will do my best for this reason. They can give me hundreds of years in prison, if they want.”
Gür: You are covering up October 6-8
HDP Foreign Affairs Commission member Nazmi Gür also said, “Not only we, but the entire world knows it as well that this case was filed upon the instructions of the government. What you care about is not revealing the real perpetrators of the people who died in the October 6-7-8 incidents, but covering them up… You are trying to keep us off politics.”
Referring to the closure case against the HDP as well, Gür said that “another evidence of the fact that the Kobanê trial is a political one is the closure case filed against the HDP.” He briefly added:
“You also know it very well that the indictment was not lodged at the will of the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation. That is why, I do not have any faith in a fair ruling to be handed down by you. I request that the court give a ruling of release and be freed of this shame.”
Altınörs: Indictment collapsed with ECtHR ruling
Alp Altınörs also said in his defense: “The ECtHR ruling concerns us as well. The entire content of the indictment has collapsed with the ECtHR ruling. The entire construct of the indictment is oriented towards six years ago. But in its ruling binding your court as well, the ECtHR says, ‘The HDP made a call against the ISIS terrorist organization.’ Our call involves peace and democracy. And the ECtHR has concluded this in a clear ruling.”
After Altınörs’ statement of defense, the court board recessed the hearing for two hours. It will continue with the defense of other politicians.
The following people are arrested as part of the case:
HDP former Co-Chairs Figen Yüksekdağ, Selahattin Demirtaş, dismissed Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, Democratic Regions Party (DBP) former Co-Chair Emine Ayna, former MPs Ayla Akat Ata, Beyza Üstün, İbrahim Binici, HDP former Spokesperson Günay Kubilay, HDP Central Executive Board member Alp Altınörs, HDP Foreign Affairs Commission member Nazmi Gür, HDP Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) member, Ali Ürküt, HDP former bookkeeper Zeki Çelik, HDP former Central Executive Board members Bülent Barmaksız, Can Memiş, Cihan Erdal, İsmail Şengül, Mesut Bağcık, Bircan Yorulmaz, Dilek Yağlı, Pervin Oduncu, Berfin Özgü Köse, Ayşe Yağcı, Zeynep Ölbeci, HDP former MP Aysel Tuğluk, DBP former Co-Chair Sebahat Tuncel, Diyarbakır former Co-Mayor Gültan Kışanak, HDP former Central Executive Board memberi Nezir Çakan and Meryem Adıbelli.