The Erdoğan-AKP government’s unlawful pressures on HDP deputies and members continue non-stop in the referendum process. While our co-chairs and 10 deputies have been in prison since 4 November 2016, detention and/or arrest of our deputies, party executives and members in many provinces continue as part of the government’s referendum campaign.
On 7 Ferbruary, Ms. Dilek Öcalan, MP for Urfa, was detained in İstanbul. She is charged with “making terror propaganda” and due to a speech she delivered in Viranşehir on 23 February 2016. Ms. Öcalan was released after she had testified. On February 8, Ms. Leyla Zana, MP for Ağrı, was detained in Diyarbakır. She is also accused of “making terror propaganda” due to one of her speeches in Ağrı during her campaign in general elections. Ms. Zana was released with the condition of judicial control.
Beside our deputies, HDP party executives and members are also under severe pressure. On 6 and 9 February, the police detained about 100 HDP/DBP executives and members in İstanbul, Ağrı and Adana. Since there is confidentiality order on their files, we have not been able to learn about the accusations raised against them.
These unlawful detentions constitute the crux of President Erdoğan’s campaign for the referendum: paralyzing the HDP organizationally so that it cannot carry out a powerful “No” campaign.
These increasing attacks on the democratic opposition in general and the HDP in particular have already put the legitimacy of the results of referendum into jeopardy. The democratic publics and institutions, both domestic and international, should bear responsibility and take action against anti-democratic policies of Erdoğan/AKP government in the referendum process. Otherwise, it is clear that the level of political repression will further escalate, as we get closer to the referendum date.
Deputy Co-chair of HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs
Member of Parliament