Kurdistan Turkey releases Kurdish lawmaker, detains mayors

Turkey releases Kurdish lawmaker, detains mayors
A file picture of the released Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Leyla Birlik. (Photo: DHA)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Turkish court in Istanbul on Wednesday released the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Leyla Birlik from detention in the first session of her trial.

Birlik is accused of “membership in a terror group…inciting hatred among the people, insulting state officials and organizing illegal walks and protests” in the case she was not acquitted.

Turkish anti-terror police units arrested her in early November 2016 along with 12 colleagues including the HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag who are still in pre-trial imprisonment.

The lawmaker who represents a Sirnak Province constituency was being held at Istanbul’s Silivri prison since her arrest in the Midyat district of Mardin.

Birlik’s freedom followed her husband Mehmet Birlik’s Tuesday arrest upon entering Sirnak and subsequent release after questioning by the police, said the Kurdistan24 Diyarbakir Bureau.

She is the sister-in-law of Haci Lokman Birlik, an actor who was killed by Turkish police special forces.

His body was dragged behind an armored vehicle with a rope tied around his neck while an urban battle raged on between Turkish government troops and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) affiliates in Sirnak in October 2015.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, 18 HDP and Democratic Regions Party (DBP) politicians were remanded to prison in Istanbul and the Kurdish provinces of Mardin and Van.

Among the imprisoned were the Co-mayor of the district of Catak (Sax) in Van Celalettin Bartu, and of Omerli (Mahserte) in Mardin Suleyman Tekin.

Nine people were sent to prison in Istanbul alone, including the co-heads of the local branch of the HDP.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany