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are ever to return to Turkey it is essential that the charges against Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas are withdrawn and that they are immediately allowed to resume their elected responsibilities and to pursue a peaceful answer to the Kurdish question in Turkey.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.

Supported by: Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director; Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor, UNISON Scotland; Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU; Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers (NUT) International Secretary; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Cambridge University; Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, Wales; Francis Wurtz, Former Chairman of the GUE-group in the European Parliament; Julie Ward MEP; Maxine Peake, actress; Chris Stevens MP; Hywel Williams MP; Lord Rea; Jonathan Steele, Veteran Foreign Correspondent and Author; Margaret Owen OBE; John Hunt, Journalist; Suki Sangha, Chair STUC Black Workers committee; Roza Salih, STUC Young Workers Committee; Dr. Amy Bartholomew, Associate Professor, Department of Law and Legal Studies; Ali Has, Solicitor; Mike Mansfield QC; Joe Magpie, Journalist; Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS University of London; Janet Biehl, Writer, Researcher; Prof Mary Davis; David Morbgan, journalist; Melanie Gingell, barrister; Bruce Kent, CND; Dr Derek Wall, author, lecturer; Isabel Kaeser. PhD student, SOAS; Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, International Coordinator, Green Party of England and Wales; Penny Papadopoulou, Journalist; Barry White, CPBF (p/c); Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan.

2 Responses to Statement In Support of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag – Co-Chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey
  1. Michael McGinn
    December 6, 2017 | 09:01

    It is clear Turkey under Erdogan is no longer democratic. Instead of selling weapons to Erdogan,He should face sanctions and ejection from NATO.
    The HDP is a democratic party and it’s members democratically elected.
    Erdogan has imprisoned its members because they represent an enlightened political philosophy at odds with his dark autocratic and theistic regime.
    Erdogan is responsible for destroying Kurdish Towns and villages with a view to eradicating the Kurdish Cultural presence. He will fail! Kurdistan will be established and democracy will come to this region.

  2. Jan Best de Vries
    December 11, 2017 | 13:36

    Dear Michael MCGinn,

    The declaration of independence by Mr. Barzani for Bashur appeared to be premature and meanwhile the Plain of Nineveh and Kirkuk have been retaken by the Iraqi army from the Kurds who claim these areas as being originally Kurdish. In Turkey Mr. Erdogan tries to crush the democratic party HDP with false accusations against its official representatives. The only outlet for the Kurds in Bakur is at the moment to smuggle foodstuffs into Syrian Rojava which is being starved in good companionship by Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Barzani. The Kurds in Iran just have to wait for the disappearance of the present theocratic regime. So a Kurdish state Kurdistan is farther away than ever. More realistic is the policy of the PYD which aims at a large degree of autonomy for Rojava within the Republic of Syria, comparable to that which in 1936 had been decided by the then democratically chosen republican government of Spain for the Basks and the Catalans before Franco’s Putsch. We all have just to wait and see.

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