Seventh year of imprisonment marked for HDP leaders
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Seven years have passed since former People's Democratic Party (HDP) co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdağ were arrested, along with a number of party MPs.
Although the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly called for the clemency of the HDP co-leaders, the Turkish government has refused to consider their release.
Over the past seven years, 26,000 HDP members have been arrested.
When ISIS attacked Kobani and besieged the city in 2014, Demirtas and his party leaders called for demonstrations in Türkiye. After the demonstrations became tense, Turkish authorities launched a crackdown on the party.
HDP officials were later accused of supporting the PKK by various Turkish courts.
The HDP co-leaders were arrested on May 20, 2016, after a vote succeeded in parliament to lift the MPs' immunity to prosecution.
Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who supported the HDP in the last two elections, at the time said: "They will vote yes regardless of whether parliamentary immunity is against the constitution.”
After a military coup attempt in Türkiye on July 15, 2016, an ensuing state of emergency was declared, which further exacerbated the dire situation of the HDP.
The HDP won 65 municipalities in the 2019 elections, but 48 were handed over to other mayors. 39 mayors were imprisoned for supporting the PKK.
On June 7, 2021, the HDP came under intense pressure with demands that it be closed. Ankara's prosecutor's office has requested that the Constitutional Court close the HDP and ban 108 of its members from politics.
Turkish government officials' statements indicate that pressure against the HDP will not stop. The HDP is regarded by the Turkish government as the political wing of the PKK.
Founded in 2012, the HDP is a left-wing political party in Türkiye that seeks to enhance the country’s Kurdish minority’s civil rights. At one point, it became the third-largest party in parliament.