HDP MPs delegation – Talks with European officials during PACE sessions

A delegation comprised of HDP İzmir parliamentarian Ertuğrul Kürkçü, HDP Deputy Co-chair responsible for Foreign Relations Hişyar Özsoy, HDP İstanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu and HDP European Council Representative Faik Yağızay had a series of meetings at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

HDP parliamentarians met with the Greek former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanis, Socialist Group member and Germany Delegation Deputy President Frank Schwaber, Switzerland Delegation and Liberal Democrat Group members Alfred Heer and Kerstin Lundgren.

The HDP delegation met with the President and other members of the Netherlands Delegation, and parliamentarians including Axel Fischer, President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Groups in the PACE and the European Parliament.

HDP delegation also met with officials from the Italian Permanent Representation, Venice Commission of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and delegations from Italy, Britain and Estonia.

The HDP committee held talks with the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland and PACE President Pedro Agramunt.

Speaking about the talks they have had, HDP European Council Representative Faik Yağızay stated that they drew European officials’ attention to the referendum process that will take place in Turkey under the unlawful state of emergency. Yağızay said they emphasized that several HDP parliamentarians including Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ and nearly 3,000 HDP members have been imprisoned in recent months, the media has been silenced, and the ‘fair and equal propaganda’ environment has been destroyed during the state of emergency.

Yağızay noted that during the meetings with Jagland and Agramunt, the HDP delegation requested that these persons increase their efforts so that an equal and free propaganda period can place during the referendum process, and European officials approached this demand in a positive way.

Yağızay said they discussed the political genocide operations and the human rights violations against democratic circles as well as the referendum process, and emphasized that HDP Co-chairs and parliamentarians were arrested before the parliamentary debates in order to prevent the emergence of a ‘no’ decision from the referendum.

On the other hand, HDP Şırnak parliamentarian Faysal Sarıyıldız, HDP Deputy Co-chair responsible for Foreign Relations Hişyar Özsoy, and journalists Ahmet Nesin, Fehim Işık and Fatih Polat joined a PACE session and informed the participants about the massacres Turkish state forces and gang groups have committed in Kurdistan.

HDP Mardin MP Mithat Sancar also spoke during the ‘Restoring democracy or reinventing dictatorship?’ panel in which former European Court of Human Rights president Jean-Paul Costa and former ECHR judge Rıza Türmen participated.

Before the PACE sessions, HDP parliamentarian Ertuğrul Kürkçü had met with Kati Piri, Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament, German parliamentarian Elmar Brok and the Kurdish Friendship Group President Marie-Christine Vergiat.

HDP officials had also met with European Commission officials from Albania, Austria, Germany, Armenia, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Sweden before this week’s PACE sessions.