Turkish prosecutor demands 142 years imprisonment for Kurdish leader Demirtaş, EU rapporteur outraged

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Co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş. File photo

ARA News

Amsterdam – Kati Piri, the EU’s Turkey rapporteur on Tuesday called the indictment by Turkish prosecutors seeking extended prison terms for leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ “outrageous”.

Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ are being prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation for “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state and spreading terrorist propaganda”, according to judicial sources, the Turkish pro-government  newspaper Yeni Safak reported.

“I am not a manager, member, spokesperson, or a sympathizer of PKK; I’m the co-chair of HDP,” Selahattin Demirtaş said in his defence during a court testimony on January 6.

Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ have been in jail since 75 days when the crackdown on the pro-Kurdish party began.

“Outrageous indictment! Demirtaş is leader of 2nd largest opposition party, representing 7 million voters in Turkey. He’s not a terrorist,” Kati Piri, a member of the European parliament and EU’s Turkey rapporteur said.

The Co-Rapporteurs of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) request to visit the two Kurdish leaders was rejected by Turkey’s Ministry of Justice last week.

“I would like to state with great sadness that the government, by suppressing and arresting politicians, journalists, academics, writers and in fact, all critics of the government, is dividing the country in hearts and minds, and is driving our society towards chaos,” HDP co-chair Demirtas said in a statement released from Edirne prison on 4 January, condemning the ISIS attack in a night club in Istanbul during the New Year that killed 39 people.

“Unity cannot be established by excluding democratic opposition, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, which is the third largest political party in the country. The government should use its energy not to attack the HDP, but to provide social peace and security. The greatest task that stands before us is to carry out democratic work that will consolidate the sense of belonging 80 million people feel towards this country,” the Kurdish leader said.

“My call to our peoples is to join hands with a perception that our identity and faith values, different life styles and worldviews constitute our richness, to stand together to protect democracy, human rights and freedoms and to carry out a common struggle for our social peace,” Demirtaş concluded.

The Presidential Committee of PACE, International Parliamentary Union, Party of European Socialists and parliamentarians from Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and Denmark are also planning to visit the HDP co-chair this month, if the Turkish Ministery of Justice does not reject their requests.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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