Brussels – European Parliament member Julie Ward on Monday was denied right to visiting to the imprisoned member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and member of the Turkish Parliament Leyla Birlik.
“Leyla Birlik is one of 10 HDP deputies who have been imprisoned by the Turkish state in the last thee weeks following the brutal crackdown on political opposition. Leyla is a democratically elected MP representing Sirnak in Southern Turkey. She was elected on November 1st 2015 when HDP won 59 seats exceeding the necessary threshold to enter the Turkish parliament,” Ward said.
Ward is a member of the EU parliament from the British Labour Party. She is participating in an international solidarity project whereby elected politicians choose to befriend and support the pro-Kurdish HDP deputies under investigation and imprisoned during the ongoing ‘state of emergency’ in Turkey.
On Monday, she attempted to visit the imprisoned Kurdish MP. “I had been in communication with the British Embassy over the weekend and had explained my position as a VIP and woman parliamentarian concerned for the wellbeing of someone like me,” she said.
“Despite all the attempts we were denied access. On arrival at the prison our group was subject to intimidation and harassment by the [Turkish] military police at the prison entrance. We were asked to move at least 1 kilometer away from the prison and not to return until we had evidence of official state permission to make a visit. Other visitors arriving on a public bus to visit inmates were also asked to exit the prison campus and had to do so on foot as the bus had left,” she added.
“I remain deeply concerned for Leyla and all the imprisoned HDP deputies as well as the 39 co-mayors, 142 journalists, thousands of judges, lawyers, academics, teachers, public sector workers and community and voluntary sector (NGO) workers who have been arrested and detained since July 15th. My observations lead me to the bleak conclusion that Turkey is quite obviously becoming a fascist state under the power of one man, President Erdogan, who is waging war on his own fellow countrymen in a systematic deconstruction of democracy,” she said.
Also on Monday, the Turkish authorities blocked a delegation of leftwing European Parliament members to visit the leader of the HDP Selahattin Demirtas at a prison in Derine, in north-west Turkey.
Following the failed coup attempt on 15 July, the Turkish authorities launched a crackdown on all opponents. The campaign also targeted the pro-Kurdish HDP party for its links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
In the meantime, Turkish authorities arrested on Monday the veteran Kurdish politician and Mayor of Mardin Ahmet Turk alongside the Artuklu district Mayor Emin Irmak, in a ‘terror investigation.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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