The Central Executive Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has released a statement marking the anniversary of the lift of Kurdish MPs’ legislative immunities in 1992.
“It’s been 28 full years since the attack on democratic politics,” says the statement.
“Kurdish deputies were handcuffed with their immunities lifted 28 years ago because they suggested out-of-the-box solutions to the Kurdish question, which is the most fundamental and oldest problem of Turkey, and they defended peace against war, life against death and the truth against denial.
“The dark spirit of the ’90s that describe the will of the Kurdish people as ‘terrorists’ unfortunately continues its existence today. In 28 years, there were unfortunately no changes in the governments’ view of the Kurds and their attacks on the Kurdish people and their political representatives.
“On the contrary, attacks that target democratic politics continue with methods full of enmity and hatred much more than before. On the 28th anniversary of the March 2 coup, our Deputy Semra Güzel was stripped of her parliamentary status.
“The opposition parties, which queued up on November 4, 2016, to lift the immunities of our co-chairs at the time, queued up to lift the immunity of Semra Güzel today.
“We condemn the March 2 coup and all civilian and military coups, including the coup that happened in the parliament last night. In the past, Leyla Zana, Ahmet Türk, Orhan Doğan, Hatip Dicle, Sırrı Sakık and Mahmut Alınak did not bow down; today, our friends in prisons have the same honorable and determined stance. We will continue this resistance and honorable stance till the end. We will win, the putschists will lose.”
The arrest of Kurdish MPs
In the 1991 elections, members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Labor Party (HEP) competed as the candidates of the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) as part of an alliance between the two parties, which was formed to help the HEP get around the 10 percent election threshold.
Prominent Kurdish figures such as Leyla Zana, Mahmut Alınak, Hatip Dicle, Orhan Doğan, Ahmet Türk, Sırrı Sakık, Selim Sadak and Sedat Yurtdaş were elected and switched to the HEP following the election.
After the Constitutional Court closed the HEP in July 1993, the MPS switched to the then-newly founded Democracy Party (DEP). In March 1993, the Chief Prosecutor of the Ankara State Security Court filed a case with the Constitutional Court, demanding the closure of the DEP.
On March 2, 1994, the parliament lifted the legislative immunities of the DEP deputies upon the insistence of then-PM Tansu Çiller. Four MPs, Dicle, Zana, Doğan and Sadak, were arrested in the parliament subsequently.
They were later sentenced to 15 years in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organization” and served 10 years in prison. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) convicted Turkey because of the trial of the MPs.