Statement In Support of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag – Co-Chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey

By the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign: 

On 6 and 7 December 2017 Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), are to be tried in separate courts in Ankara, Turkey. They face a range of charges accusing them of inciting violence and making propaganda for a terrorist organisation. Figen and Selahattin are among 13 HDP MPs who have been gaoled in Turkey since the 15 July 2016 failed coup attempt. 90 co-mayors of mainly Kurdish towns and cities in Turkey have also been jailed on terrorism-related charges and Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than any other country. None of the MPs or co-mayors had any connection with the coup and in fact denounced it.

Peace in Kurdistan, along with millions of others in the international community, have no doubt whatsoever that this is purely a political trial designed to intimidate and silence all legitimate opposition to the brutal and oppressive regime of President Erdogan. Figen Yuksedag and Selahattin Demirtas sought to represent their people and constituents in Turkey’s parliament and to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish people’s problems in Turkey.

That they are being tried as accomplices of terrorism demonstrates blatantly the political and arbitrary way that the law is being used. We firmly believe that if peace, justice and democracy are ever to return to Turkey it is essential that the charges against Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas are withdrawn and that they are immediately allowed to resume their elected responsibilities and to pursue a peaceful answer to the Kurdish question in Turkey.

We shall continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Selahattin and Figen and will continue to build a campaign for their release until they are once again freed and able to carry out their legitimate duties. We call on the UK and all governments and international institutions to demonstrate their commitment to democracy by joining this call for their release.

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