6 February 2018
Turkey kicks out seventh Kurdish lawmaker from Parliament
A majority of lawmakers at the Turkish parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of removing a fellow MP, Ferhat Encu of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), from his elected post over conviction at a court for “terrorist propaganda.”
With the ouster of Encu, who represents the Kurdish province of Sirnak, the number of HDP lawmakers kicked out of the Turkish national assembly rose to seven.
In June 2017, a Turkish penal court in Sirnak handed a prison sentence of four years and seven months for Encu. A higher appeals court upheld the ruling two months ago.
Prosecutors were demanding up to 22 years of imprisonment for Encu on charges of “membership in a terror group and disseminating propaganda on behalf of it.”
Police arrested him alongside the HDP’s co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas, Figen Yuksekdag, and nine other lawmakers during night raids on their houses in several provinces in November 2016.
Authorities released him in February last year, only to jail him again two days later.
In another ongoing probe against Encu, prosecutors ask for an aggravated life sentence allegedly for attacking the sub-governor of the town of Qilaban (Uludere) in Sirnak after Turkish warplanes killed 34 Kurdish civilians, many of whom were relatives of Encu in his native village of Roboski in late 2011.
Encu entered politics after “the Roboski massacre” which also killed his brother along with 11 of his extended family’s members, most of them children, in the deadly air assault on the border with the Kurdistan Region.
Before him, veteran Kurdish politician and Sakharov Laureate Leyla Zana was ousted last month from the Turkish Parliament for the second time in her political life.
Among the HDP lawmakers kicked out are the party’s former Co-leader Yuksekdag, Nursel Aydogan, Tugba Hezer, Faysal Sariyildiz, and Besime Konca.
Yuksekdag, Aydogan, and Konca are in prison whereas Hezer and Sariyildiz have been in self-exile in a European country.
With Encu’s removal from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)-dominated Parliament, the number of HDP seats fell to 52.
The crackdown on the HDP and larger Kurdish movement has seen the imprisonment of the party’s leadership, nine lawmakers, 80 mayors and thousands of members.