Gergerlioğlu must be given back his MP status immediately

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş held a press conference at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara today (July 7).

In her speech about the current issues on the agenda, Danış Beştaş also talked about the HDP’s dismissed Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was released from prison yesterday evening (July 6) following a ruling of rights violation given by the Constitutional Court.

Stripped of his MP status due to a final prison sentence over a social media post from years ago and detained and sent to prison shortly afterwards, Gergerlioğlu made an individual application to the top court. The application was concluded on July 1 and he was released yesterday.

Speaking about Gergerlioğlu’s situation against this backdrop, HDP Group Deputy Chair Danış Beştaş said, “Gergerlioğlu must be given back his MP status immediately. He was – of course – always an MP for us. He is an MP for us today, too. He was also an MP in prison. However, officially and in terms of procedure, it must be done as soon as possible.”

She also touched upon the continuing arrest of dismissed HDP MPs Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları, who had also been stripped of their MP status and sent to prison. Reminding the reporters that Farisoğulları is held in prison in Diyarbakır and Güven is imprisoned in Elazığ, Danış Beştaş said that “they had also been unlawfully and unjustly stripped of their MP status.”

Referring to Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former Co-Chair of the HDP, she said, “The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling demanding the immediate release of Selahattin Demirtaş has also not been taken into account so far. He must be released immediately, too.”

Noting that “the arrest and conviction of all HDP politicians is purely the result of a political plot”, Danış Beştaş further underlined that all arrested HDP politicians must be released as per the ruling of rights violation given by the Constitutional Court for dismissed HDP MP Gergerlioğlu.

What happened?

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison on the charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on February 21, 2018, because of a social media post from the year 2016. The conviction was upheld by the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation on February 19, 2021.

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 refused to leave the parliament in protest of the decision, starting a “justice watch.”

During his protest, he was detained at the parliament as part of a new investigation on March 21 and released on the same day.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was detained from his house on April 2, 2021; he was arrested and sent to prison shortly afterwards.

The Constitutional Court rejected an application against the revocation of his parliamentary mandate on March 31.

The Constitutional Court examined the individual application of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) dismissed Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was stripped of his MP status and arrested afterwards.

Giving its ruling, the Constitutional Court has concluded that Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s “right to be elected and to engage in political activities” and “the right to personal liberty and security” have been violated.

Five days after the Constitutional Court ruling of rights violation, Gergerlioğlu was released from the Sincan Prison in Ankara on July 6, 2021.