HDP Delegation meeting with Elmar Brok / Kati Piri at the EP

A delegation composed of Selahattin Demirtas, co-president of the People’s Democratic Party, the HDP deputy for Şırnak Leyla Birlik, the HDP deputy for Bingöl HDP Hişyar Özsöy and the european representative of the HDP in Europe Eyyup Doru have met Elmar Brok, the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and have taken part at the Committee’s debate.

Mr Demirtaş noted during the debate the country was living through extraordinary times, as its constitution is suspended, political and media rights are violated, and MPs are stripped of their immunities. He said those events, coupled with the halt of the peace process talks, had become an “Erdoğan strategy” to ignite national feelings and make President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “a single man in power”.

Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs said if Turkey goes on undermining rule of law principles and stripping members of the Turkish Parliament of their immunities, then it should not expect to be granted an EU visa-free regime and also voiced solidarity with Mr Demirtaş’ efforts to revive the Kurdish peace process talks.

MEPs were worried by Mr Demirtaş’ claims, that the Turkish opposition might be put behind bars as soon as next week, given that the Turkish public prosecutor is filing terrorist propaganda charges. Several MEPs stated that with the opposition in prison and rule of law principles neglected, Turkey should not expect to get an EU visa-free regime any time soon.

A large majority of MEPs expressed solidarity with Mr Demirtaş’ efforts to revive the Kurdish peace process talks and called on him to denounce the violence and terrorist attacks. He agreed that “the solution is not in violence or firearms, but in negotiations”, calling on the European Parliament to act as a mediator to this end.

Asked by several MEPs about the future of the EU-Turkey migration deal, the HDP leader said that refugees “are not a big burden for us […], but they can only return to their homeland if there is stability in Syria.” He also noted that President Erdoğan should not be taking decisions alone on the future of EU-Turkey relations or the annulment of EU-Turkey deals.

EP Rapporteur for Turkey Kati Piri spoke during the panel in the EP Foreign Relations Committee and touched upon the lifting of HDP parliamentarians’ immunities, emphasizing that the EP would never approve the visa agreement if Turkey jails even 1 HDP parliamentarian.

Addressing Selahattin Demirtaş, Piri said “The European Parliament will never sign the visa agreement if you (Selahattin Demirtaş) or your colleagues (HDP parliamentarians) are imprisoned.”

Piri recalled that the majority of the European Parliament was critical of Turkey in many fields, and said that HDP was the main target of the lifting of immunities in Turkey.

The same delegation later met with Kati Piri personnally, as well as Rebecca Harms, co-chair of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group at the EP.