EU High representatives on the detention of Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdag and HDP Members of Parliament in Turkey

President of the EP Martin Schulz:

Today’s detentions send a chilling signal about the state of political pluralism in Turkey. Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdag and HDP Members of Parliament are legitimate and democratic representatives of Turkish society. The HDP is the third biggest group in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

I have met Selahattin Demirtaş many times. He is a leader committed to the peace process, to non-violence, to political dialogue and to the rule of law. In our last meeting at the end of September, he already feared he would be next in the line to be detained.

With this last high profile string of detentions – a continuation of the crackdown on other HDP elected representatives – Turkish authorities are not just pushing Turkey further away from democracy, but they are also turning their backs on the values, principles, norms and rules underpinning EU-Turkey relations.

I am in constant contact with VP/HR Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn and political group leaders in the Parliament concerning the latest developments in Turkey. These events must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Turkey is a candidate country to the European Union and a member of the Customs Union. The course of action by the Government calls into question the basis for the sustainable relationship between EU and Turkey and the commitment of the Turkish Government to democratic values and to its European aspirations.”

HR Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn:

The European Union is gravely concerned about the detention last night of several HDP Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on charges alleging support of terrorist activities. Among those detained are the party’s co-chairs Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ and Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş, both democratically elected leaders and our trusted and valued interlocutors.

These developments add to the concerns we expressed after the immunity of more than 130 democratically elected Members of Parliament was lifted in May this year. They compromise parliamentary democracy in Turkey and exacerbate the already very tense situation in the South East of the country, for which there can only be a political solution.

The EU considers actions against PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation also by the EU, as legitimate. At the same time the EU believes that such actions must never undermine the basic principles of democracy.

We expect Turkey to safeguard its parliamentary democracy, including respect for human rights and the rule of law, and we are conveying these expectations directly to the Turkish authorities. Together with the Council of Europe, the EU will continue to follow and assess the situation very closely, in constant coordination with all Member States.