Further mass detentions of HDP members within the scope of the Kobani investigation

Statement by HDP Foreign Affairs Co-spokespersons Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy, 03.05.2022

As the Kobani case against the HDP continues, with its all-unlawful practices, another wave of detentions of HDP politicians has been carried out in connection with this case. On April 12, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants against 91 people, including our party executives, mayors, municipal employees, former party members, and administrators. At least 46 people were detained in many cities, including Mersin, Adana, Istanbul, Diyarbakir, and Urfa. The detainees were accused of “being involved in the financial organization of the Kobani incidents” and “providing financial assistance to PKK members who were killed or injured during the incidents.” Some of them were also charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization.” These detentions are related to the protests that took place in Turkey in early October 2014, when the town of Kobani in Northern Syria was under the siege and attacks of the ISIS. Eight years after the alleged crimes! Former Co-Mayor of Mersin Akdeniz Municipality, Fazıl Türk; former Accountant of HDP, Zeki Çelik; Adana HDP provincial administrator, Mustafa Bilgic; HDP Kayapınar district administrator, Şahin Eroğlu are among the detainees.

On 20 April 2022, detention warrants were issued for 44 people more, within the scope of the investigation initiated by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in 6 provinces. The detainees were accused of transferring financial resources to the PKK. Mr Necati Pirinççioğlu, former co-mayor of Kayapinar (Diyarbakir), and former co-mayors of Ergani (Diyarbakir) Ramazan Kartalmış and Mervan Yıldız are among the detainees.

The Kobani case, which is politically motivated and was filed in line with the government’s instructions, is already underway in Ankara. Dozens of HDP administrators, including our former co-chairs, Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş and Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ, former MPs, mayors, and members of the Central Executive Board, are facing aggravated life sentences on charges of “attempted overthrow the government and murder of people killed in Kobani incidents.” The case is based on accusations against our politicians for their support to the Kobani protests that took place on 6-8 October 2014. These were protests against the siege of the town of Kobani and against the inaction of the Turkish government in the face of an imminent ISIS massacre. During the protests, at least 43 people were killed. The overwhelming majority of these people were members or sympathizers of the HDP; and they were killed by Turkish police’s firearms. President Erdoğan has been accusing our arrested co-chairs and the HDP of inciting violence. The Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights have already examined such allegations against the HDP in the case “Demirtaş versus Turkey” case and concluded that the HDP has no role in the violence during the protests and all charges against the HDP leadership should be dropped. Moreover, HDP deputies have so far tabled more than ten parliamentary proposals to establish an all-party parliamentary commission to investigate the protests, reveal the truth, and help to identify the provocateurs and instigators of violence. But all our proposals have been refused by the governing AKP-MHP alliance.

The ongoing Kobani case is already a legal pantomime. Recently, the court’s former president, Bahtiyar Çolak, was detained for organized crime and corruption. He was later released on house arrest and was suspended from his position by the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK). On March 28, the court rejected demands by the defendants’ lawyers to stop proceedings on the grounds of the investigation against former chief judge Çolak. During the Kobani hearings there have been practices that should not be accepted in any legal case. For example, witnesses have withdrawn their statements, or inconsistencies in their statements have been exposed. Some complainants were included in the indictment against their will, without even knowing why they were complaining in this case. In almost every hearing, the microphones of lawyers and defendants were turned off when they spoke, and witnesses were heard in the absence of lawyers and defendants. On April 6, the court rejected the defendants’ request to be informed about the witness hearings before they are held.

In the face of all these scandalous practices, the government has made its next move against the HDP and launched a second wave of detentions. We have already underlined in our previous statements that there is a close link between the Kobani case and the closure case against the HDP, as the Chief Public Prosecutor of the closure case bases most of his accusations against the HDP on the Kobani protests. The government wants to criminalize the HDP with fictional allegations, planning to use such accusations to close the party.

We invite everybody to raise their voices and solidarity against incessant attacks on our party, which do not only target the HDP but possibility of a democratic political system in Turkey.

More articles on the topic:

Closing Down Democracy – The Prosecution of the HDP

Lawyers of the Kobani Case: Legal defence is under grave threat

The Kobani Case: Violating the right to a fair trial

Kobanî trial: ‘Lay the ground for indictment of HDP closure case’

Kobani Trial: “This Court is all About Defending ISIS”

Kobanî trial: #SolidarityWithHDP & #DefendKobani