HDP under police blockade in Istanbul: The downfall of the criminal empire is imminent

“A reflection of the fear of a criminal regime facing its downfall” – these were the words used by HDP leader Mithat Sancar in Istanbul on Monday to describe the siege of his party’s district office in the Kadıköy district to prevent a protest event on the occasion of the police’s violent crackdown on the final “Justice Vigil” of prisoners’ families, during which an officer slapped HDP politician Ferhat Encü on Sunday.

HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar, HDP MP Sezai Temelli and Garo Paylan

Like yesterday, the riot police were again deployed with a large contingent and armoured vehicles and hundreds of officers literally heckled the party building and surrounding streets with reference to a ban on assembly issued by the local administrative authority. Leading party members were denied access to the office and even the co-chairs of the party, Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan, who had travelled from Ankara together with other MPs, were not allowed to leave the encirclement for a long period of time. Many people were detained again.


“Why do I speak of a reflection of fear?” asked Sancar in a speech looking at the marching police. “Because the picture painted here at this moment reflects the fear of the rulers of the determined struggle for democracy, the stubborn and persistent resistance for freedom. What else are they afraid of? Of that day when their criminal empire is plunged into the abyss.” Sancar went on to say that concern for their own survival is also the main reason for the Turkish government’s intensified aggressiveness against all circles that are committed to a change of system in the country. It is the same with the slap in the face against Encü. “They should know: We will not give up our struggle. We will give the clearest answer at the ballot box. The rulers will not be able to escape accountability for their crimes. This country will sooner or later face an order of justice. No one can prevent today’s rulers from being tomorrow’s condemned. Anyone who thinks that police blockades like this will act as a deterrent and stop us from fighting is sorely mistaken. This government will not be able to protect itself from the big response to the slap in the face it will receive at the ballot box.”


Pervin Buldan also spoke a few words. Buldan described the violence against her former parliamentary group colleague Ferhat Encü, who sat in the Turkish parliament as a deputy from Şirnex (tr. Şırnak) between 2015 and 2018 and currently heads the Istanbul provincial branch of the HDP together with Ilknur Birol on a gender-parity basis, as an “expression of deep-seated hatred against the Kurdish people” and a “dripping black stain” stuck on democracy, justice and equity in the country.

HDP MP Sezai Temelli under police blockade

The politician also sharply criticised a kettle that the police had drawn inside the siege ring around the HDP building and surrounded leading party members inside. “Once again, the third largest party in the parliament of this country is under a blockade by an intolerant and anti-democratic government – this time and repeatedly by security forces commanded by this regime. But our opposition to the rulers will not be banned by unlawful decrees and unjustified interference with freedom of assembly.”

HDP MP Sezai Temelli is under police blockade and is prevented from entering the district building


Outside the siege ring, there was repeated loud applause and slogans from members of the HDP as well as members of other groups and parties united under its umbrella. The police made numerous arrests, sometimes using massive force. According to the latest information, around 100 people were taken into custody, among them several mothers of sick and political prisoners who had been fighting for the lives of their imprisoned children for months with the “Justice Vigil” initiated in March.

Istanbul HDP co-chairs Ilknur Birol and Ferhat Encü are also in custody. Encü had been arrested the previous day along with 68 other people and was only released around midnight.  A protest taking place at about the same time in Izmir on the Aegean Sea was also attacked by the police and dozens of people were temporarily arrested. HDP politician Mehmet Zahir Yaşar, who had travelled from Bodrum, suffered a heart attack during his arrest and had to undergo emergency surgery.

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