Danish MPs call on Turkey to release Kurdish politicians


Danish Parliament. File photo

ARA News

Members of the Danish Parliament have called on Turkey’s authorities to release Kurdish officials of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

17 MPs from Enhedslisten – The Red-Green Alliance, SF – The Socialist People’s Party and The Alternative on Thursday demanded the release of the dozens of Kurdish politicians imprisoned by the Turkish government after the failed military coup last year.

“The arrest of the HDP parliamentarians is totally unacceptable. We call for their immediate release and ask our [Danish] Government to put pressure on the Erdogan regime,” said Nikolaj Villumsen, a MP for the Enhedslisten and a spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Emergency.

“Denmark and Europe has to put full pressure on Erdogan. We shall not accept the attacks on the democratic forces in Turkey. Action has to be taken now,” he said.

Earlier the majority of the Danish parties has voted in favor of a resolution calling for the immediate release of the parliamentarians of the HDP in Turkey “after HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag were arrested and now both face jail charges,” the Danish MP Villumsen told ARA News.

Some 5,000 HDP party officials, including 85 mayors and 13 parliamentarians, are reportedly jailed on terror charges. The crackdown went into overdrive since last July’s coup attempt against Erdogan.

The HDP informed Human Rights Watch that since the July 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, 5,471 of its party officials, including heads of provincial and district branches, had been detained, with 1,482 sent to pretrial detention.

Moreover, under emergency law, the authorities shut down many Kurdish radio stations and TV channels and banned the HDP’s campaign song, “Say No”, claiming that it incited “hatred and enmity”.

“It’s deeply damaging to Turkey’s democracy that the government is locking up the leaders and MPs of an opposition party that received five million votes in the last election,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch in late March.

“The government’s crackdown on pro-Kurdish parties is robbing millions of voters of their parliamentary representatives, and in a vast swathe of the eastern and southeastern parts of the country it is robbing voters of their local representatives as well,” Williamson added.

Also Kurdish president Masoud Barzani in February called on the Turkish government to release the politicians.

“In the interest of peace in Turkey, it would be better for him [Demirtas] and other arrested politicians to be released,” Barzani told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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