Beleaguered HDP lawmaker Gergerlioglu arrested again in Turkey

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu at Turkey's parliament building in Ankara. (Photo: Archive)
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu at Turkey's parliament building in Ankara. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish police on Friday again arrested pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, whose parliamentary immunity was stripped last month.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported, “Ankara's Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said that Gergerlioglu was arrested as he did not report to police despite a 10-day legal notification to do so.”

Gergerlioglu’s son said the MP was arrested and dragged from his home barefoot.

“This is a shame on Turkey, I didn't commit any crime,” Gergerlioğlu said before police detained him, Duvar English reported.

Gergerlioglu was briefly arrested during the Kurdish new year celebrations on March 31, but released a short while later.

On August 20, 2016, two years before he was elected to the Turkish parliament, Gergerlioglu tweeted and commented on a news story in which the leadership of the prescribed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) called on the government in Ankara to "take a step" toward peace.

In February, Turkey’s top appeals court upheld Gergerlioglu’s subsequent conviction and sentence of two years and six months in prison for his tweet sharing the news article and its accompanying photograph of PKK fighters.

The PKK has fought a decades-long insurgency with Ankara over Kurdish rights and self-rule in which tens of thousands of people have been killed on both sides. Now Gergerlioglu is being prosecuted for this call for peace although the government and the PKK held peace talks between 2013 and 2015 until the process collapsed.

Since then some 16,300 HDP members have been detained, with 3,500 of them receiving prison sentences, party officials told the Mezopotamya news agency in November 2019.

On March 17, Turkey stripped Gergerlioglu from his parliamentary status and immunity, which led to his arrest yesterday.

Moreover, Turkey's top prosecutor filed an indictment on the same day against the HDP, seeking the closure of the party and a political ban for all 687 HDP officials.

The top Turkish court on March 31 sent the HDP closure indictment back to the prosecutor “over procedural deficiencies,” pro-Turkish Daily Sabah reported. However, the prosecutor can re-submit the indictment after completing the necessary details.

The court also rejected Gergerlioglu’s attempt to restore his parliamentary seat, Anadolu reported, arguing that the “applicant had no standing to appeal.”

The official HDP account in English in response to the MP’s arrest tweeted that the "enemies of democracy are at work once again" and added that “Gergerlioglu is the will of the people and the will of the people will never surrender to you.”

The HDP most likely referred to the alliance between the ultranationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with the AKP of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that developed in the aftermath of the 2015 collapse of the peace talks between Ankara and the PKK.

The MHP has been pushing its Islamist-rooted AKP partner to ban the HDP since 2015.

Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly