CHP leader says Turkey became an 'open prison'

"Nobody can talk about democracy in such a state where Turkey has become an open prison."

ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan24) - Leader of Turkey's secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Friday visited headquarters of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) in capital Ankara and met with its Co-chair Serpil Kemalbay.

The last time Kilicdaroglu met with HDP leadership was in October 2015, a year before Turkish authorities imprisoned the party's other chair Selahattin Demirtas.

Kurdistan24's Ankara bureau said the meeting between the two sides' delegations lasted over an hour, as they spoke of challenges the opposition faces from the government.

At a joint press conference, Kemalbay said she hoped Kilicdaroglu's visit would create a dialogue that could lead to the freedom of thousands of her party's members, including 11 lawmakers.

Kilicdaroglu on his part said he did not want a Turkey where journalists, MPs, and intellectuals were jailed.

"Nobody can talk about democracy in such a state where Turkey has become an open prison and [the country] is governed by extraordinary decrees," said the CHP leader.

Kilicdaroglu supported an April 2015 bill by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that removed lawmaker immunity from prosecution, a move that has disproportionately targeted the HDP.

CHP leader began a round of talks with prominent figures of other opposition groups in the aftermath of the April referendum that with a small margin granted President Erdogan executive powers, enabling him to circumvent parliamentary check and balances.


Editing by Ava Homa