ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan24) – The detention and subsequent imprisonment of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and leaders were a new step in forging a one-man rule in Turkey, according to the party’s jailed co-leader Selahattin Demirtas.
In a hand-written letter to his supporters read on Tuesday at the weekly parliamentary group convention of the HDP in Ankara, Demirtas described his detention and that of his nine other colleagues as “a state of being a hostage.”
Turkish police detained the HDP co-leader during a midnight house raid last Friday before remanding him on Saturday to a high-security prison in the Turkish city of Edirne on the border with Bulgaria.
HDP has refused to make any deal with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on empowering President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who demands Turkey’s parliamentary system be changed for an executive presidency.
However, the opposition fears a new change would lead to a centralization of state powers in one hand.
“We expect and hope the European public and democratic institutions demonstrate a much more efficient stance in the face of this repression,” said Demirtas.
A diplomat from the European Union’s Turkey mission, representatives from various countries including the ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg, and Greece were present at the HDP’s group convention, reported the Kurdistan24 Ankara bureau.
HDP, the second largest opposition block at the Turkish Assembly, had to air its convention on live-streaming services of social media outlets such as Facebook and Periscope.
The state TBMM TV tasked with broadcasts from the Parliament and private-owned news channels failed to televise the Kurdish group’s convention to their viewers.
Alongside Demirtas, HDP’s other co-chair Figen Yuksekdag, and 10 other lawmakers—of who three later released—were arrested.
Demirtas said the crackdown on the HDP was “a civil coup” against the will of its six million voters, mostly from a dozen Kurdish provinces.
The number of imprisoned Kurdish MPs rose to 10 on Tuesday as a Turkish court decided to place the Hakkari lawmaker Nihat Akdogan under detention in jail after his arrest the day earlier.
With Akdogan’s imprisonment, the Kurdish Hakkari Province where the HDP got 87 percent of votes in November 2015 elections had no more representatives at Turkey’s assembly.
The left-wing party which Turkish leaders accuse of being a political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party decided temporarily to halt its legislative activities at the Turkish Parliament.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany