HDP: 295 people were taken into custody in a month as the government seeks provocation

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Law and Human Rights Commission Co-Spokesperson Nuray Özdoğan held a press conference at her party’s headquarters in Ankara concerning the latest wave of political genocide operations based in Amed, Ankara and Istanbul.

Remarking that the government labelled everyone “terrorists”, she noted that “the recent operations carried out by the AKP judiciary and law enforcement against our party and the entire opposition continue increasingly ahead of the elections.”

Özdoğan gave the following information about the detentions in the last month:

Nuray Özdoğan: “The government, which has involved all state institutions, judiciary, law enforcement, governorships, public buildings in its election campaign and used the money collected for earthquake victims for its election budget, has increased the crackdown on the opposition.

“On March 4, 12 party members, including HDP’s provincial co-chair, were detained in Urfa. On the same day, 16 people, including HDP Youth Assembly members, were detained in Istanbul. On April 25, 2 HDP executive members, 25 lawyers charged with election safety, 143 people, including party campaigners and poll watchers, were detained in Diyarbakir and more people face an arrest warrant. 48 of these people, including 5 lawyers and 4 journalists, were sent to prison. Dozens of others were detained while making a press statement to protest the political genocide operations. Even lawyers were banned from meeting their detained colleagues for 24 hours. The judiciary and law enforcement continue to maintain the 4-day detention period arbitrarily in every case of detention.  

On April 26, the Green Left Party candidate in Kocaeli province was imprisoned. After the election rally in Muş on April 27, many people were detained. On April 29, 19 people, among them 2 journalists and party members, were detained in Ankara. On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, 5 people, including 2 journalists, were jailed. On April 29, our election convoy in Ankara was stopped by the riot police, and 3 people, including our party lawyer, were subjected to police violence. On April 30, Gebze district co-chair and 4 party employees were detained and imprisoned. In Eskişehir and Istanbul, 23 people, including the Co-Chair of our ally party ESP, Şahin Tümüklü, the Greens and Left Party parliamentary candidates, ESP members and opposition journalists were taken into custody. 6 people, including Mr. Şahin Tümüklü, Green Left Party deputy candidate and 1 journalist were imprisoned.

During the election campaign in Kocaeli on May 1, our parliamentary candidates Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Arzu Eylem Kayaoğlu were subjected to physical and verbal violence under police supervision. On May 2, 32 people, including members and administrators of the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK), the HDP and the Green Left Party Youth Assembly, were detained.

Abdulcebbar İlbars, the father of Onur İlbars, who was detained unjustly and unlawfully, went to the police station to see his son, but died of a heart attack shortly after he returned home as he was not allowed to meet the son. We offer our condolences to his family. We will do our best to bring those responsible for this death to justice.

As a result of an attack on May 2 on the party’s election booth in Edirne, 2 party members, including parliamentary candidate Serdal Zımba, had their arms broken and 3 party members were injured. Attacks on election vehicles, election offices, threats on social media, harassment by the law enforcement, and bans on election campaigns by governor’s offices and district governors continue everywhere.”

Özdoğan revealed that 295 party members were detained and 61 more were arrested in the last month in the latest wave of political operations. She added: “These figures are estimated to be higher. The government, which has involved all state institutions, judiciary, law enforcement, governorships, public buildings in its election campaign and used the money collected for earthquake victims for its election budget, has increased the crackdown on the opposition. It is doing this for a reason; the results of the election surveys.”


Özdoğan also spoke about the recent statements of top AKP figures about the elections, stating the following:

“On April 26, the AKP Deputy Chair, Binali Yıldırım, said that ‘this is an election of freedom struggle against invaders’. On the other hand, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Süleyman Soylu, described the May 14 elections as a ‘coup attempt’. For election safety, Soylu should be relieved of his duties in the first place.  In a speech in Ankara on May 1, President Erdoğan said that ‘My nation would not elect a president who receives orders from Qandil’. Subsequently, on May 2, Erdoğan’s Chief Advisor, Mehmet Uçum ,said that ‘a government change in the 2023 elections will be a blow to Turkey’s full independence’. We would like to emphasize that the above-mentioned political genocide arrests increased after these statements.

There are intense provocation attempts in all electoral areas. The crimes committed against election campaigns are an open violation of the constitution. Our party and the Labour and Freedom alliance will not allow the government to turn electoral areas into scenes of violence. This country has not forgotten the violence and massacres after the June 7 elections in 2015.

Our party will go to the polls with more than 4 thousand volunteer lawyers and thousands of observers. Our party, with all its components and alliances, is ready for the 14 May elections. We would like to make it clear to our people: everyone’s vote will be protected. We urge the public to be vigilant against the attacks and provocation attempts against the Green Left Party and our Labour and Freedom Alliance during the election campaign.”

Cover photo: HDP MPs who wanted to distribute flyers about HDP Istanbul Provincial Congress in Taksim were prevented by the police. (02 November 2019)

Source: HDP and Press

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