Last update: 17-Nov-2020 10:26
Parliamentary members subjected to proceedings are: HDP İzmir MP Serpil Kemalbay, HDP Tunceli MP Alican Önlü, HDP Iğdır MP Habip Eksik.
Ousted Kurdish mayor and 4 others detained
Turkish police in dawn raids on Monday detained the former co-mayor of Cizre in southeastern Şırnak province from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the HDP district co-chair and three others, the Mesopotamia News Agency reported.
Counterterrorism police reportedly broke down the doors of former co-mayor Berivan Kutlu and Cizre district co-chair Güler Tunç. The government ousted the co-mayor, appointing a trustee in her stead in October 2019. The detainees are being held at the Cizre Police Department, according to Mesopotamia.
Ankara has removed from office 59 of 65 mayors from the HDP, replacing them with government-appointed trustees, over accusations of ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a secessionist Kurdish armed group outlawed by Turkey. The ousted mayors were elected in the local elections of March 2019.
Kurdish politicians arrested, mayor replaced by Ankara
2 October 2020:
Following the arrest of 19 Kurdish and pro-Kurdish politicians on Thursday, four more Kurdish politicians were arrested on Friday in southeastern Kurdish-majority Diyarbakır province, Mezopotamya agency reported.
Two of the newly-arrested politicians, Edip Binbir and Çiğdem Ekti, were from the Diyarbakır chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), while Mekiye Güzel worked at MEBYA-DER, an association for the families of persons who lost family members in the Kurdish conflict, and Emin Ay at the Democratic Islam Congress (DİK).
Seven others from HDP and several worker’s unions were released on probation, while HDP’s Sur district council member Ömer Filitoğlu’s detention was prolonged until Monday.
Mayor of Kars arrested, replaced with gov’t appointee
Mayor of the eastern Kars province Ayhan Bilgen, who resigned from parliament to run for mayor and won his seat last year from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) following a highly-contested series of recounts, was arrested on Friday, after which the Turkish Interior Ministry removed him from office and appointed the province’s governor as his replacement, daily Evrensel reported.
Bilgen was the last provincial mayor who still held his seat after the Interior Ministry started to dismiss mayors upon terrorism charges without convictions shortly after the 2019 elections. At least 59 of the 65 municipalities HDP won have been replaced with government appointed proxies to date.
Bilgen’s co-mayor Şevin Alaca, who was officially a member of the city council, was also arrested after Bilgen announced his resignation.
Bilgen had wanted to force a re-election from among city council members and avoid a government appointee, a pool which would have included Alaca, and several other council members who were either arrested or dismissed.
Kars governor prays on street after appointment as mayor
Kars Governor Türker Öksüz held Friday prayers in front of the municipality building after he was appointed to replace the province’s dismissed and arrested mayor Ayhan Bilgen.
“The Kars Municipality has been usurped by the palace,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Izmir Deputy Murat Çepni said in a tweet. “And this is a prayer of conquest.”
HDP Diyarbakır Deputy Dersim Dağ called the prayer “an image of occupation, religious abuse, and usurpation of the people’s will.”
HDP Spokeswoman Ebru Günay said: “We know (the arrest decisions) are not made in courthouses. Sycophant media had been writing the indictment and putting on arrest negotiations for days. These arrests have targeted the colorful and pluralistic structure that is the HDP.”
Several HDP deputies started a sit-in in front of the municipality, while police did not allow supporters of the party to join in.
Turkish opposition condemns dismissal of HDP mayor
Following the mass arrest of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) politicians and dismissal of the mayor of Kars, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Group Chairman Özgür Özel tweeted out a condemnation of the arrests.
“They reopened the Kobani case six years later, and spewed out fear for the opposition and hate towards Kurds,” Özel said. “They arrested Ayhan Bilgen in spite of the Constitutional Court ruling, and appointed a replacement to the will of Kars where they failed to win at the ballot.”
CHP Deputy Chairman Oğuz Kaan Salıcı said, “When Turkey’s political history is told, these days will be referred to as ‘the squirming of the one-man regime in its period of collapse’! The arrest of HDP members is entirely political. Whatever you do, you will be gone by the first ballot!”
The Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), founded by former minister Ali Babacan, issued a statement calling the replacement mayor appointed to Kars “a coup against democracy.”
Replacing elected mayors with government appointees has “turned into a government routine,” DEVA said in the statement, calling the current situation in Turkey “a bottleneck of democracy that our country has been in for a long time.”
The case against dismissed mayor Bilgen was the same one that the Constitutional Court ruled to be a violation of his rights, it continued. “All appointments of government proxies violate the Constitution and international treaties,” it said.
The DEVA statement also stressed that the Kars city council should have been able to elect another mayor from among itself.
“We would like to remind everyone of a very fundamental piece of information on democracy: Respecting elections and election results is among the most fundamental, indispensable element of democracies.”
Pro-Kurdish co-mayor detained after colleague announces resignation
The chief public prosecutor’s office of the eastern city of Kars has ordered the detention of 19 politicians from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on terror charges, including the city’s co-mayor and city council members, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Thursday.
The police had detained Co-mayor Şevin Alaca as of Thursday morning, HDP deputy Hüda Kaya tweeted.
The detention warrants were issued following a written statement by Ayhan Bilgen, the other Kars co-mayor from the HDP who is currently in police custody, in which he said he would resign from office after his detention, stating that a female mayor would better govern the city.
Critics view the detention of Alaca and city council members as a bid to suppress an attempt by the HDP to choose Alaca as the new mayor after Bilgen announced he would resign, a move that would prompt an election by the city council. Read the full article
25 September 2020:
Turkey seeks arrest of 82 people, including Kurdish opposition figures
Turkey issued detention warrants for 82 people, including major Kurdish political figures, for their suspected involvement in large-scale violent protests in 2014, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
Eighteen of the 82 people, including former parliamentary deputies, mayors and ex-party leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), have been detained so far in an operation by counterterrorism units simultaneously covering seven provinces, the news agency said.
Among those apprehended were former deputy and HDP mayor of the city of Kars Ayhan Bilgen, former HDP deputies Ayla Akat Ata, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Altan Tan, Nazmi Gür, Emine Beyza Üstün and Emine Ayna, and Alp Altınörs, a member of the party’s Central Executive Board, it said. Read the full article
HDP’s Selahattin Demirtaş faces new indictment
Demirtaş’s previous remarks about Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman, who recently made headlines for visiting President Erdoğan following his wedding, were held as the grounds for the accusation in the new indictment, which seeks up to 8 years in prison for Demirtaş on the charges of “threatening,” “targeting public officials involved in the fight against terrorism.”
17 September 2020:
|Turkey’s Kurdish movement not going away,
Ankara accuses the HDP of links to militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has now replaced around 30 mayors from the HDP on alleged links to terrorism since municipal elections in March.
In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP. All the mayors, who were democratically elected in local elections on March 31, have been removed from office by Turkey’s Interior Ministry. The controversial practice of removing and arresting mayors was also widely implemented during Turkey’s two-year-long state of emergency following an attempted coup in 2016.
11 December 2019:
HDP says 6,000 party officials arrested since 2015
A total of 15,530 members of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been detained and 6,000 of them arrested since 2015, according to a report drafted by the HDP, the Bianet news website reported. The HDP publicized the report on rights violations in 2019 on the occasion of Human Rights Day, marked every Dec.10. The report showed that the number of HDP members or officials detained to date 2019 is 674, of whom 200 have been arrested.
The HDP has been one of the main targets of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) particularly after a coup attempt in July 2016, following which the government launched a massive crackdown on its opponents under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.
The report also showed that 20 co-mayors elected from the HDP in the March 31 local elections have been arrested, while 28 co-mayors have been removed from office on terrorism allegations. The controversial practice of removing and arresting mayors was also widely implemented during Turkey’s two-year-long state of emergency following the attempted coup in 2016.
Ankara accuses the HDP of links to militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
6 December 2019:
HDP’s District Co-Mayors in Van Detained
District Co-Mayors of Muradiye, Özalp and Başkale from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were taken into custody in the early morning hours today (December 6) on the ground that there are ongoing investigations against them conducted by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.
Muradiye Co-Mayors Yılmaz Şalan and Leyla Balkan, Özalp Co-Mayors Yakup Almaç and Dilan Örenci and Başkale Co-Mayors Erkan Acar and Şengül Polat have been brought to the Provincial Directorate of Security in Van after their houses were searched by the security forces. Blockading the municipality buildings, police officers do not allow people to enter or leave the municipalities.
In Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır, HDP's Bağlar Municipal Council member Naşide Buluttekin Can has also been taken into custody. After searching her house, the police took Buluttekin Can to the Anti-Terror Branch of the Diyarbakır Directorate of Security. She was removed from office with HDP's five other municipal council members on October 22 and a trustee was appointed. (HA/SD)
6 December 2019:
Turkey detains 5 more Kurdish co-mayors from HDP
As part of an expanding crackdown on elected mayors from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), five HDP district co-mayors have been detained in the eastern province of Van on accusations of terrorism, according to Turkish media reports.
Muradiye district co-mayors Yılmaz Şalan and Leyla Balkan, Özalp co-mayors Yakup Almaç and Dilan Örenci and Başkale co-mayor Erkan Acar were detained on Friday as part of an investigation overseen by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Since the local elections of March 31, a total of 23 HDP mayors have been ousted from office and subsequently arrested. Ankara accuses the HDP of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP. The controversial practice of removing and arresting mayors was also widely implemented during Turkey’s two-year-long state of emergency following an attempted coup in 2016.
May 21 2016
The Turkish Parliament approved a bill on May 20 to pass a temporary constitutional change to allow the trial of MPs who have legal cases pending against them by lifting their legal immunities. Some 139 deputies in the 550-seat Turkish Parliament have a total of 682 files against their name. Among those are files against three party leaders: Selahattin Demirtaş of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has 75 files against him, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 41, and Devlet Bahçeli of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has nine.
According to the political party groups, the HDP deputies top the list with a total of 417 files, followed by the CHP with 195, and the MHP with 20. Deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) have 46 files in total. Among the 682 total files, 216 are “terrorism-related,” almost all of which are against HDP deputies, and 201 are “insult” files, mostly related to “insults” targeting President Tayyip Erdoğan. Most of these are against CHP and HDP deputies.
The change voted for on May 20 covers all parties, but the step was initiated by the AK Parti following Erdoğan’s statement that MPs who “talk on behalf of the terrorists” - implying militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - should not be able to hide behind the cover of parliamentary immunity. He said they should be considered terrorists too.
Erdoğan was targeting the HDP members of parliament, accusing them of carrying weapons in their cars, attending the funerals of killed militants, and praising them.
The debate is similar to the case 22 years ago, when the immunities of four deputies were lifted, leading to their trial and imprisonment in 1994. That did not help the Kurdish problem get any closer to a peaceful solution.
The bill was approved with the votes of the AK Parti, the MHP and partly the CHP, which was divided over the vote. Without support from within the CHP the bill would have been taken to a referendum. Erdoğan said in a speech right after the vote that the CHP saw that if the bill was taken to a referendum it could have been approved with 70-80 percent support from the public, so some CHP deputies voted to approve it in order to avoid this.
The vote on immunities was another test of Erdoğan’s power ahead of a possible vote for a constitutional change shifting Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system in the coming months. Erdoğan may or may not have the MHP’s support for a presidential system - and he is highly unlikely to have support from the CHP and HDP for a strong presidential system - but he is likely to try a referendum.
This power test has left another mark on the Turkish Parliament’s record of representativeness. After all, the HDP won 59 seats in the Nov. 1, 2015 election, more than the MHP, for example. Terrorism is a heavy accusation to make and there is a thin line between speech and action regarding terrorism-related accusations, especially in Turkey which is engaged in a serious campaign against not only the PKK but also against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAESH using Arabic initials.
What’s more, it may not only be MPs from the HDP that are put on trial. Kılıçdaroğlu has said that no CHP member is afraid of being put in jail for the party’s fight for a better democracy. HDP co-chair Demirtaş has also said his party members are not afraid of being jailed, which would also carry a cost for the ruling AK Parti and Erdoğan.
Such jailing might trigger reactions in the West, especially within the EU, which is trying to maintain a fragile deal with Turkey over the control of refugees triggered by the Syrian civil war and the reactivation of Turkey’s membership negotiations. The spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on May 20 that she might raise the issue with Erdoğan when she meets him in Istanbul next week during the U.N. Humanitarian Summit. Source
Turkey sends 3 more Kurdish mayors to prison on terror charges
A Turkish court has arrested three district mayors in the country’s Southeast who were previously removed from office by the Interior Ministry, the Turkish media reported.Savur district Co-mayor Gülistan Öncü, Mazıdağı district Co-mayor Nalan Özaydın and Derik district Co-mayor Mülkiye Esmez, all in Mardin province, who were detained following police raids on Nov.15, were arrested on Tuesday.
The mayors face charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
Ankara accuses the the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of links to militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has now replaced some 15 mayors from the HDP on alleged links to terrorism since municipal elections in March. In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP.
All the mayors, who were democratically elected in local elections on March 31, have been removed from office by Turkey’s Interior Ministry.
28 November 2019:
Thousands of pro-Kurdish party members detained in Turkey since 2015
22 October 2019:
Trustees Appointed to 4 HDP Municipalities
14 September 2019:
Pro-Kurdish MP Güven under investigation for terror propaganda
3 September 2019:
2 Kurdish mayors challenge Interior Ministry’s expulsion decision in court
Turkish police have detained members of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in operations in seven provinces on Friday, Evrensel newspaper reported .
Ten senior members of the HDP were detained in Ankara, while the police had arrest warrants for 30 people, including lawyers, on charges of making terrorist propaganda, Evrensel said.
Some 18 members of the HDP detained in Istanbul on Thursday are expected to be formally charged by prosecutors on Friday, Evrensel said. Police also raided the houses of several others on Friday morning.
In the eastern province of Erzurum, three members of the HDP were detained over social media posts dating from 2014, according to Evrensel. ,
Large-scale operations against pro-Kurdish party started on Tuesday in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, where 10 of its members were detained.
Police this week also blocked several attempts by HDP politicians and members to organise demonstrations in solidarity with Leyla Güven, a Kurdish lawmaker, who has been on partial hunger strike for 100 days to protest the isolation of jailed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan
The governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Friday banned a rally that was supposed to end in front of Güven’s house, Artı Gerçek reported. Güven is in a critical condition and the Kurdish lawmaker was taken home on Wednesday after she was hospitalised, but refused treatment.