7 September 2017
Turkey's Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by two Kurdish lawmakers, Tugba Hezer of the Van Province and Faysal Sariyildiz of the Sirnak Province, to reverse a decision on their ouster from the Parliament two months ago.
In a unanimous vote, all members of the highest court agreed to dismiss the request by the two opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers.
A short press release on the court's website did not offer an explanation for its refusal to take the case into legal consideration.
This week the HDP has been protesting the continued pre-trial imprisonment of its co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and that of ten other MPs in front of the court in Ankara.
The Turkish Parliament voted for the removal of Hezer and Sariyildiz on the grounds that they failed to attend legislative sessions for over a year.
Both MPs had fled Turkey to Europe in May 2016, shortly after the Turkish Parliament passed a law lifting lawmakers’ immunity from prosecution.
Members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and those of its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), voted overwhelmingly to kick Sariyildiz and Hezer out of the Parliament.
Thus the number of the HDP lawmakers at the 550-seated Turkish Parliament fell from 59 to 55.............
.....Turkish courts have issued arrest warrants for both Hezer, the Parliament’s youngest member at 27, and Sariyildiz on terrorism-related charges for their campaign speeches and attendance at funerals for fallen Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members who fight government forces.
According to Turkish media, one of Hezer’s brothers was a PKK fighter killed by the army.
Reports also claim her sister remains in the ranks of the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) which is leading the war against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
27 July 2017
Turkey’s parliament stripped two pro-Kurdish lawmakers of their parliamentary status on Thursday, further reducing the presence of the HDP, the second-largest opposition party in the general assembly.
The government says the HDP is an affiliate of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an armed insurgency in the largely Kurdish southeast for more than three decades. The HDP denies direct links to the PKK.
The move to strip Tugba Hezer and Faysal Sariyildiz of their status was read out in parliament after an appeal to remove their membership was submitted and voted on.
The two were removed on grounds of “discontinuity”, or missing general assembly meetings, bringing the number of seats occupied by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to 55 in the 550-seat assembly.
The HDP had 59 lawmakers elected to parliament in the November 2015 general election but has since lost four members.
“This will go down as a battle for democracy, and in yours as a black stain. We will continue to make politics, whether in jail or in parliament,” said Filiz Kerestecioglu, a lawmaker for the HDP.
In February, parliament stripped Figen Yuksekdag, one of the HDP’s two leaders, of her membership. Her co-leader Selahattin Demirtas was jailed, and Yuksekdag was subsequently replaced as co-chair.
Nursel Aydogan, another HDP lawmaker, was also stripped of her parliamentary status in May because she faced charges including membership of a terrorist organisation.
Thursday’s move comes amid growing concern among opposition parties, human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies that President Tayyip Erdogan is using a crackdown on suspected supporters of last year’s failed military coup to stifle all dissent.
Since the failed coup, some 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from the military, civil service and private sector.