The new Turkey
Leyla Güven.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member who are also standing as parliamentary candidate.

Last update: 11-Jun-2020

10 June 2020:

Court releases arrested former lawmaker

A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled in favor of releasing former opposition lawmaker Leyla Guven from prison.  Guven, who was stripped of her legislative immunity and arrested last week, had been sentenced to six years and three months for being a member of an "armed terror organization." The provincial court accepted an application by Guven's lawyers for the time she already spent in prison in a previous arrest to be deducted from her sentence, releasing her on probation.

Guven and two other former lawmakers -- Enis Berberoglu and Musa Farisogullari -- who were sent to prison early last Friday, a day after parliament revoked their seats and legislative immunity. Berberoglu is from the main opposition Republican People's Party and Guven and Farisogullari from the Peoples' Democratic Party.

The final judgements of the judicial proceedings against Berberoglu, Guven and Farisogullari were read out in the parliament on Thursday.

4 June 2020:

Turkey incarcerates three opposition MPs stripped of parliamentary immunity

Three opposition politicians stripped of their parliamentary seats have been detained and sent to jail.

A prosecutor in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southeastern Diyarbakır province had issued arrest warrants for two Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies on Thursday night, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Pro-Kurdish HDP’s former Hakkari deputy Leyla Güven and former Diyarbakır deputy Musa Farisoğulları were stripped of their seats in a parliamentary session earlier in the day based on finalised court orders over terrorism charges.

Farisoğulları was detained by the police on his way from Diyarbakır to the capital Ankara shortly after the warrant was issued. About an hour later, Güven was taken into custody from her home.

Saray Darbesiyle vekilliği düşürülen DTK Eşbaşkanı ve Hakkari Milletvekilimiz Leyla Güven de gözaltına alındı. İşte darbe budur. Seçmen iradesinin temsilcisi bir siyasetçinin evine onlarca polisle baskın yapmaktır. İntikamcılıktır Berxwedan Jiyan e diyenleri yıldıramayacaksınız!

— HDP (@HDPgenelmerkezi) June 4, 2020

The third deputy stripped of his seat, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member Enis Berberoğlu, was detained an hour after Güven. Berberoğlu had announced earlier that he would be going to the court house early Friday morning of his own volition.

"Why such tyranny for a person who would go to the prosecutor's office himself tomorrow?" tweeted CHP deputy Tuncay Özkan as he announced Berberoğlu's detention.

Enis Berberoğlu İstanbul’da şu an gözaltında. Vatan emniyete götürülüyor. Neden? Bunca zulm neden? Yarın savcıya kendisi gidecek bir insana bunca zalimlik neden?

— Tuncay ÖZKAN (@ATuncayOzkan) June 4, 2020

In 2017, Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his part in revealing to the public images that appeared to show Turkish intelligence services shipping weapons to Syrian rebels. His sentence was later reduced to five years.

Berberoğlu, who was a deputy in the previous term as well, was released some months after his re-election in 2018. Turkey’s Court of Cassation ruled to suspend his sentence until the end of his term in parliament, which under normal circumstances would have come in 2023.

Leyla Güven was convicted to six years and three months in prison for membership of a terrorist organisation over her attendance to a press conference protesting Turkey’s 2018 Operation Olive Branch into Kurdish-held northern Syrian province of Afrin, and memorial services for members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The indictment against Güven also mentioned her 200-day hunger strike protesting prison conditions for political prisoners and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who had been held in isolation without contact with his family or lawyers for eight years at the time.

Musa Farisoğulları was convicted to nine years in prison for the same charges, over his alleged attendance to funerals of two PKK members in 2018, as well as a condolence visit to another PKK member’s family. One of the funerals was for Mehmet Yakışır, who directed PKK activity in northern Turkey and was responsible for the death of a 15 year-old boy according to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

Meanwhile, Cemile Eminoğlu, the Mayor of Bismil, a town within the southeastern Diyarbakir province also detained on Thursday, herself notified it over a tweet post. Eminoğlu was replaced by the government trustee in October, 2019.

Gözaltına alınıyorum. #BerxwedanJiyane

— Cemile Eminoğlu (@cemileeminoglu) June 4, 2020

1. October 2019:

Prosecutor asks parliament permission to prosecute Kurdish deputy on terrorism charge

A Diyarbakır prosecutor has submitted a summary of proceedings to the Turkish parliament accusing Leyla Güven, a deputy from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), of disseminating terrorist propaganda, the Mezapotamya news agency reported on Tuesday. The prosecutor cited one of Güven’s speeches delivered on Sept. 11 in Diyarbakır as evidence.

In the highly disputed speech, the Kurdish deputy harshly criticized the government for removing three Kurdish mayors in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van over alleged terrorism charges. Güven said as long as the Kurdish question remained unresolved, young people would continue to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group and armed conflict would be prolonged.

14 September 2019:

Pro-Kurdish MP Güven under investigation for terror propaganda

Turkey has launched an investigation against pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Leyla Güven for allegedly conducting  "propaganda for a terrorist organisation.’’

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutors Office launched the investigation following a speech delivered by Güven on Thursday in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır, where the HDP lawmaker criticised Turkish officials for failing to solve the country’s decades-long Kurdish problem, independent news site T24 reported on Saturday. 

"This conflict will continue because the HDP is not the reason for the conflict. The mindset, which created this war, is the mindset that leaves the Kurdish problem without a solution. As long as this continues, there will be continued membership in the guerrilla movement,’’ Güven said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey for self-rule and deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and Europe.  Güven, who is also the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella organisation for Kurdish groups, was released from jail in January after serving a year behind bars for criticising Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces in northwest Syria.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party remains under the scrutiny of Turkish authorities, which accuse it of links to the PKK. Several of the party’s lawmakers are behind bars, including former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.

13February 2019:

Kurdish politician Güven taken home in critical condition after 98-days on hunger strike

Kurdish politician Leyla Güven's health is in critical condition after 98 days on hunger strike. Reports on Wednesday night said Güven had been taken to hospital in Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey but had refused treatment.

Later reports citing sources at the hospital  said she had been taken to her home in an ambulance after signing a document stating that she had refused any treatment.

Turkish police on Wednesday intervened in a protest in support of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy on a hunger strike, preventing the group from marching in the country’s southeastern province of Hakkari, independent news site T24 reported.

Police stopped a group of protesters, including HDP deputies Muazzez Orhan, Murat Sarısaç, Saliha Aydeniz and Sait Dede, from marching to the headquarters in support of fellow HDP deputy Güven, who is on hunger strike protesting the isolation of jailed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK is an armed group which has been at war for autonomy in Turkey for over 30 years.  

Hakkari MP of pro-Kurdish HDP and co-president of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Güven had been in detention since January 2018 on terror-related charges and was released last month, however her hunger strike continues.

HDP deputy Saliha Aydeniz bit the arm of a police officer attempting to take her banner, T24 reported.

Ankara accuses HDP lawmakers of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interests of the outlawed PKK, whose leader Abdullah Öcalan is serving a life sentence on İmralı island prison in Turkey since 1999.

The 54-year-old Güven began her hunger strike to protest the state’s treatment Öcalan, who has been barred from meeting his lawyers and has had only limited family visits since the collapse of a peace process between the state and the PKK in 2015 that aimed to end three decades of conflict.

Güven’s daughter Sabiha Temizkan took to Twitter on Wednesday to say mother had been hospitalised as her medical condition had deteriorated, but she refused any medical treatment.

“My mother says she wants to go home despite her severe condition. Please do not let her die. Please,” Temizkan said

25 January 2019:

Turkish court drops appeal against HDP deputy’s release

A Turkish court on Friday rejected the appeal of local prosecutor to order the release of Leyla Guven, a lawmaker of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a judicial source said. The Ninth High Penal Court in eastern Diyarbakir gave the release order with a travel ban against leaving the country, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media. Guven and her advocates didn’t attend the court hearing.

The lawmaker was accused of terror activities following her statements and social media posts on Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch against the PKK/YPG and Daesh terror groups in northwestern Syria. She was arrested on Jan. 22, 2018 as part of a probe launched by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Diyarbakir.

The prosecutor demanded more than 31 years in imprisonment for Guven in February after accusing her of establishing and managing armed terrorist organization as well as making propaganda for terrorists. On June 29, the court ordered her release, however, an upper court later ruled that she should remain behind bars upon the appeal of the chief public prosecutor. Guven was elected as HDP deputy for southeastern province of Hakkari in the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections.

28 December:

Court rules to keep pro-Kurdish deputy Güven in jail

A high criminal court in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır has ruled to keep pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Leyla Güven in jail, according to Turkish media reports on Wednesday.

The latest hearing in Güven’s trial in which she faces terrorism charges was held at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Following Güven’s election to parliament in the general election of June 24, her lawyers petitioned the court, asking for Güven’s release on the grounds that she won parliamentary immunity, but court has so far refused to release her.

During Wednesday’s hearing Güven’s lawyer reminded the court that a Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy, Enis Berberoğlu, was released from jail although he was convicted of revealing state secrets.

Berberoğlu was released from jail in September after 15 months of imprisonment on espionage charges.

Güven was arrested on Jan.31. She faces a prison sentence of between 17.5 and 31.5 years on charges of establishing and leading a terrorist organization, disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and provoking the public to take part in illegal demonstrations.

12 December 2018:

50 more HDP members detained by Turkish police in Diyarbakır

Turkish police on Wednesday detained 50 more members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who had started a hunger strike in solidarity with jailed party deputy Leyla Güven, the Artı Gerçek news website reported. Twenty-two HDP members who also had gone on a hunger strike were detained on Monday. Police forces raided the HDP’s Diyarbakır office and searched the building.

Güven decided to go on a hunger strike to raise awareness about the isolation of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in prison since 1999. The Turkish government has refused to allow Öcalan to meet with his family members and lawyers for some time now.

Güven was elected as a deputy for Diyarbakır from the HDP in the general election on June 24 while she was in jail. A Turkish court decided to keep her in jail although her election gave her immunity. Last week 11 HDP deputies in parliament went on a symbolic, two-day hunger strike to show their support for Güven.

10 November 2018:

Jailed pro-Kurdish party deputy under investigation over hunger strike

An imprisoned deputy for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is under investigation by the directorate of a prison Turkey’s southeast, where she has been on a hunger strike since Nov. 7, independent news site Diken reported.

Leyla Güven, who has been held in Diyarbakır prison since January on terror-related charges, announced a few days ago that she began an indefinite hunger strike ‘’to protest the isolation practices against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and political prisoners.’’ .................. The prison’s directorate has asked Güven to provide a verbal or written defense over the next three days, citing  Article 47 of the Turkish Penal Code,  Diken said.

Article 47 states that aggravated life imprisonment will last for a whole life time and prisoners sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment are held in rooms for one person and are allowed one hour of open air or sports per day. Güven is accused of co-chairing the Democratic Society Congress, a part of the Kurdish political movement that Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government calls a terrorist organisation.

4 October 2018:

Leyla Güven: More than just a politician

Tiny Url -

Nurcan Baysal

Oct 05 2018

Leyla Güven has been in prison since January, accused of criticising the Turkish military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish district of Afrin. From behind bars she was elected as member of parliament for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the June 24 general elections.

On June 29, a court decided to release her since she her parliamentary seat meant she had been granted her immunity from prosecution. But the same day, prosecutors appealed the decision and she was denied release.

Just as in the case of other Kurdish politicians, Güven was arrested on one charge, and then many other accusations were added to the lawsuit.

So why is Güven in prison?

According to the indictment prepared after her arrest, Güven is charged with being the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella group of the Kurdish political movement, which it defines as an illegal organisation.

The DTK was once invited to the office of the parliamentary speaker to present its views. There are many non-governmental organisations within the DTK, and many members of parliament, politicians, as well as ambassadors have participated in its meetings.

As the political environment has changed in the last two years, the government has begun a crackdown on the DTK. Güven is accused of supporting a terrorist organisation as she demanded "democratic confederalism" in a speech, the form of rule advocated by the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

During the now-dead peace process with the PKK in 2013, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told CNN Turk: “There is no fear of confederalism in the developed countries of the world. There was the state of Lazistan in the mighty Ottoman Empire. There was the state of Kurdistan. Even the confederal system should be discussed if necessary for lasting social peace and solution."

In a second indictment, Güven was charged with membership of a terrorist organisation on account to seven different activities. These activities include participating in a hunger strike, a commemoration and Kurdish Women's Workshop, giving a speech to an HDP congress, a speech at a meeting of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and criticising Turkey's offensive this year against the Syrian Kurdish district of Afrin.

But all of these political activities are legal and her speeches were public. For example, sing the word Kurdistan was designated an offence in the indictment.

But again, Erdoğan used the word Kurdistan in a speech in 2013, as have many politicians from his party.

Güven gave a speech in only in three of the seven political activities listed in the indictment, at the other four she did not even speak, she just attended the events.

In short, Güven, a member of parliament, has been charged with membership of a terrorist organisation and has been kept behind bars for nine months, based on speeches, the words she used in press statements and events attended. But members of the ruling party who used the same words are still in the parliament.

On July 26, news reports said Güven had received a one-month disciplinary punishment after the prison administration interpreted a song she sang with a friend as an illegal anthem.

This reminds us of Kurdish writer Musa Anter who was punished for whistling a Kurdish song in 1943. Seventy-five years later, Leyla Güven is being punished for singing in Kurdish. It hurts to see the state going nowhere in 75 years.

So why is Güven kept in prison? To answer this question, it is necessary to know her. Güven is one of the most important female politicians of the Kurdish movement. She is a woman of her word, diligent, and gives hope and confidence to the Kurdish people.

She is a powerbroker within the Kurdish community. She is more than just a politician.

Of course, the government knows this fact. That is why it is trying to keep this extraordinary woman behind bars. But the government is mistaken. I think, even if Güven is behind bars, her songs and laughter reach us.

I met again with Güven's attorney Reyhan Yalçındağ Baydemir and asked whether the decision to release Enis Berberoğlu, a member of parliament for the main opposition party would serve as a model in Güven's case. Berberoğlu was initially sentenced to five years and 10 months in 2017 for espionage for providing a newspaper with a video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria. The court upheld the conviction and the jail term on Sept. 20, but ruled that Berberoğlu be released until the end of his parliamentary term.

Güven's lawyer told me that after Berberoğlu’s release, she immediately applied to the court for her client to be freed, but had not received an answer.

Turkey's judiciary is once again being tested for its commitment to the rule of law. Let us hope the court gives a good account of itself. Source

11 July 2018:

Court Rules for Continuation of HDP MP Leyla Güven’s Detention

The hearing of Leyla Güven, who was elected as the Hakkari MP of the HDP at the parliamentary election on June 24, has been held at the Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court. The court board has ruled that the detention of Güven shall continue.

Leyla Güven, the Co-Chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), who was elected as the Hakkari MP of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at the parliamentary election on June 24, 2018, had her hearing at the Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court today (July 11).

The court board ruled that the detention of Güven, who cannot yet take the parliamentary oath on the ground that she is arrested, shall continue. The next hearing of Güven has been adjourned to November 4, 2014.

The judge of former HDP MP Baluken's case

As reported by the Gazete Karınca news site, the judge who sentenced the former HDP MP İdris Baluken to prison was appointed to the Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court in place of its Presiding Judge, who took a leave.

The prosecutor of the case expressed opinion in favor of the continuation of Güven's detention. The Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court ruled that the detention of Leyla Güven shall continue. The next hearing of Güven will be held on November 4, 2018.

Her verdict of release was reversed

On June 29, the Diyarbakır Heavy Penal Court announced its verdict regarding the request of release submitted for Leyla Güven, ruling that she shall be released. However, on the same day, the higher court, the 10th Heavy Penal Court evaluated the rejection of the Prosecutor's Office and revoked the verdict of release issued for Güven.

She was detained on January 22

Leyla Güven, the Co-Chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), who was elected as the Hakkari MP of the HDP on June 24, was taken into custody in a raid conducted to her house on January 22, 2018.

Güven, who was arrested due to her statements regarding the Afrin operation, has been facing charges due to the statements for press and events that she attended and the statements that she made. After being held in custody for nine days, she was arrested by the Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court on January 31, 2018.

About Leyla Güven

Born in 1968 and lived in Germany for a long time, Güven worked for the Women's Organization of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) in 1994. In 2004, she was elected the Mayor of Küçük Dikili in Adana; in 2009, she was elected the Mayor of Viranşehir in Urfa.

As part of the operation launched against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), she was arrested in December 2009. After being kept in custody for five years, she was released in 2014. At the main KCK trial, she was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison. She was the Urfa MP candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at the parliamentary elections in 2015. (PT/SD)

30 June 2018:

Turkish court denies release to pro-Kurdish HDP’s newly-elected deputy

A Turkish court has ruled against releasing from jail a newly-elected parliamentarian of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP), under pre-trial detention for nearly 6 months now.

Leyla Güven, a HDP deputy who was elected as a parliamentarian on the June 24, 2018 election, was denied release from prison where she has being kept over terror charges. Guven was jailed in January due to an investigation launched over her remarks concerning a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of northern Syria. Source

25 June 2018:

Newly elected HDP MP to apply for prison release

Leyla Güven, a Kurdish activist and politician detained in Turkey since January, will make a formal application to be released from detention after winning a seat in parliament in the Jun. 24 elections. Güven, the co-leader of the Democratic Society Congress, an NGO promoting Kurdish self-governance, was among dozens detained in January shortly after Turkey launched Olive Branch, a military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces in northwest Syria.

Güven was charged with “establishing and administering an (illegal) organisation” in late January, and like many with links to the Kurdish political movement has been held in pre-trial detention since then. The politician ran in the June elections for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), winning a seat in Hakkari, a predominantly Kurdish province in Turkey’s southeast.

25 May 2018:

Court approves jail sentences for 4 HDP parliamentary candidates

A Gaziantep regional court has approved jail sentences for four Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members who are also standing as parliamentary candidates in the snap elections on June 24, the Doğan news agency reported on Friday.

Leyla Güven, Tayyip Temel, Musa Farisoğulları and Pero Dündar were detained in 2009 as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and were sentenced to prison in March 2017.

Güven, a co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), has been in pretrial detention since January due to another investigation launched over remarks concerning the Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of northern Syria.

Temel, former editor-in-chief of the Kurdish Azadiye Welat daily, was detained in 2011 as part of a KCK investigation and released two years later. Farisoğulları, also a member of the DTK, was put in pretrial detention in August 2017 as part of an investigation into the DTK.

Dündar, a politician from the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), was detained in 2009 in a KCK investigation and released in 2014; however, she was also put in pretrial detention in April 2016 as part of another probe and released in May 2017. The Gaziantep court on Wednesday also approved the prison sentence of jailed HDP deputy İdris Baluken, another parliamentary candidate for the snap elections.