Turkish opposition visits imprisoned Kurdish officials for first time

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HDP co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. File photo

ARA News 

Ankara – The Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that its members were allowed to visit imprisoned Kurdish officials from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for the first time.

The Turkish government began a crackdown against the HDP in early November, arresting the party’s two co-leaders alongside 8 other Kurdish MPs.

“Lawmakers from the main opposition party in Turkey – the Republican People’s Party (CHP) paid visits to jailed HDP officials. Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu paid a visit to HDP Co-Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş on November 27th, becoming the first MP to visit him in prison,” the CHP representation in Washington said in statement obtained by ARA News.

“Deniz Baykal, the former chairman of CHP went to Mardin to visit Ahmet Türk, the co-mayor of the Syria border city of Mardin who was taken into police custody. Baykal then visited Mülkiye Türk, Ahmet Türk’s wife, at their home to ask whether there was anything he could do to help,” the CHP said on Tuesday.

However, the CHP had paved the way for the arrests of Kurdish politicians by supporting a bid by the Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in April to strip away the immunity of Kurdish politicians.

Ahmet Türk, the former mayor of Mardin and a respected peacemaker, was arrested by Turkish police last Thursday and transferred to Silivri Prison. Analysts and politicians told ARA News that his arrest signals the end of the Kurdish-Turkish peace process. “What difference does it make, if I am in prison or not? But how will this bloodshed end? How will this issue reach a resolution? These are the questions,” Ahmet Turk said before his arrest.

The Turkish government’s crackdown has been condemned by the international community.

The arrest of elected members of the Turkish parliament’s third largest party, and the detention or suspension of more than 110,000 officials since a failed coup in July, may “go beyond what is permissible”, the U.N. human rights office said.

The European Union last week suspended membership talks with the Turkish government as a result of the increasing authoritarian measures under President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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