6 December 2019:
Muradiye Co-Mayors Yılmaz Şalan and Leyla Balkan, Özalp Co-Mayors Yakup Almaç and Dilan Örenci and Başkale Co-Mayors Erkan Acar and Şengül Polat have been brought to the Provincial Directorate of Security in Van after their houses were searched by the security forces. Blockading the municipality buildings, police officers do not allow people to enter or leave the municipalities.
In Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır, HDP's Bağlar Municipal Council member Naşide Buluttekin Can has also been taken into custody. After searching her house, the police took Buluttekin Can to the Anti-Terror Branch of the Diyarbakır Directorate of Security. She was removed from office with HDP's five other municipal council members on October 22 and a trustee was appointed. (HA/SD)
6 December 2019:
Turkey detains 5 more Kurdish co-mayors from HDP
Muradiye district co-mayors Yılmaz Şalan and Leyla Balkan, Özalp co-mayors Yakup Almaç and Dilan Örenci and Başkale co-mayor Erkan Acar were detained on Friday as part of an investigation overseen by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Since the local elections of March 31, a total of 23 HDP mayors have been ousted from office and subsequently arrested. Ankara accuses the HDP of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP. The controversial practice of removing and arresting mayors was also widely implemented during Turkey’s two-year-long state of emergency following an attempted coup in 2016.
A risky step on immunities
By MURAT YETKİNmurat.email@example.com
Turkey sends 3 more Kurdish mayors to prison on terror charges
A Turkish court has arrested three district mayors in the country’s Southeast who were previously removed from office by the Interior Ministry, the Turkish media reported.Savur district Co-mayor Gülistan Öncü, Mazıdağı district Co-mayor Nalan Özaydın and Derik district Co-mayor Mülkiye Esmez, all in Mardin province, who were detained following police raids on Nov.15, were arrested on Tuesday.
The mayors face charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
Ankara accuses the the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of links to militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It has now replaced some 15 mayors from the HDP on alleged links to terrorism since municipal elections in March. In August Turkey first removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, three metropolitan cities won by the HDP.
All the mayors, who were democratically elected in local elections on March 31, have been removed from office by Turkey’s Interior Ministry.
28 November 2019:
Thousands of pro-Kurdish party members detained in Turkey since 2015
Following the collapse of a peace process between the AKP government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015, Turkish authorities have intensified a crackdown on the HDP, which it accuses of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interests of the PKK, an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over three decades. 16,300 HDP members have been detained and 3,500 of those were imprisoned, Tiryaki said, according to Mezopotamya.
The Turkish police on Wednesday carried out simultaneous raids in several cities across Turkey and detained various people including HDP politicians, trade unionists and human rights activists, the news agency said. The aim of the detentions was to spread fear to the society and curb the ones who oppose the government, said Selvi Turgut, a member of the Human Rights Association (IHD).
"These practices bring uncertainty. Most of the people were released on probation," Turgut said. Some 450,000 of HDP members are now on probation and they are banned from travelling abroad and forced to report to police stations, according to Turgut.
13 November 2019:
Twenty-two mayors from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Kurdish-majority cities were previously dismissed or not mandated after the March 31 local elections, including the metropolitan mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.
The mayors have been dismissed over "terrorism-related investigations against them."
There are two ongoing investigations launched by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office against Yenişehir Co-Mayor Belgin Diken for "membership of a terrorist organization," Diyarbakır Governorship said in a statement. Yenişehir District Governor Murat Beşikçi has been appointed as a trustee, it added. Diken received 63.32 percent of the votes in the local elections.
Hazro Mayor Ahmet Çevik is under investigation for "membership of a terrorist organization" and "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" the governor's office said. Çevik has been replaced with Hazro District Governor Ali Öner. Çevik received 52.61 percent of the votes in the local elections.
Orhan Çelebi, the mayor of Akpazar town in Dersim's Mazgirt district, has been dismissed from his post he was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison for "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and there is another investigation against him on the same charge. Mazgirt District Governor Menderes Topçuoğlu has been appointed as trustee.
Çelebi started a sit-in protest in the morning, saying, "The will of the people is usurped," in a tweet. (TP/VK)
24 October 2019:
Turkish Parliament receives 30 summaries of proceedings for 19 HDP deputies
The Turkish Parliament has received 30 summaries of proceedings on terrorism charges against 19 deputies from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including Sezai Temelli and Pervin Buldan, the party’s co-chairs, the Diken news website reported.
According to the report, as of Oct. 7, 758 summaries of proceedings for 171 deputies have been pending in parliament. If parliament votes to strip the deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts. In November 2016, after parliament removed the immunity of deputies who had been charged by prosecutors, the HDP’s then-co-chairs, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested.
As reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA), the Governorship of Van has released a statement and announced that Çetin is on trial for "membership of a terrorist organization" and "terror propaganda" at the Van 4th and 5th Heavy Penal Court and there is an ongoing investigation against her on charge of "membership of an armed terrorist organization" conducted by the Erciş Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. The Governorship has also announced that Nuri Mehmetbeyoğlu, the district governor of Erciş, has been "appointed as acting mayor".
3 HDP Diyarbakır Co-Mayors detained
Appointed a trustee in his place, dismissed Metropolitan Co-Mayor of Diyarbakır Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı and HDP's Kayapınar District Co-Mayor Kezban Yılmaz, Bismil Co-Mayor Orhan Ayaz and Kocaköy Co-Mayor Rojda Nazlier were taken into custody in a raid conducted to their houses in early morning hours yesterday (October 21). As reported by the AA, Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued a warrant against Mızraklı, Yılmaz, Ayaz and Nazlier as part of an investigation launched against them on charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and "being members of a terrorist organization".
Turkish authorities arrest, replace mayors in Kurdish-majority Hakkari province
A Turkish court ordered the arrest of three mayors of the pro-minorities People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the southeastern province of Hakkari on terror-related charges, pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency reported on Thursday. The courts ruled for the arrest of Cihan Karaman, the mayor of Hakkari, and Remziye Yaşar and İrfan Sarı, the co-mayors of the province’s Yüksekova district, amid an ongoing crackdown on Kurdish politicians.
The three mayors have been replaced with government appointees, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday. The Hakkari mayor’s duties have been handed to the province’s governor, while district governors have taken over in Yüksekova and Nusaybin, the report said.
Karaman, Yaşar and Sarı were detained by the police on Oct. 15. At least six other HDP district mayors and council members were also detained in majority-Kurdish provinces of Van and Mardin in simultaneous police raids. The mayors of three predominantly-Kurdish eastern provinces, Van, Mardin and Diyarbakır were ousted on terrorism charges and replaced with state-appointed governors in August.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has taken a hard line against the country’s Kurdish political movement since talks to solve a 30-year conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) broke down in 2015. The mayors dismissed and arrested this year have been accused of links to the PKK, which has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group.
10 October 2019:
Ertan was elected mayor of Van in the March 31 local polls.
Ertan is charged in the indictment with membership in a terrorist group and spreading terrorist propaganda as well as praising crime and criminals based on her remarks and flyers distributed during her time as mayor of Van. Her trial will begin on Dec. 25.
8 October 2019:
There are a total of 758 dossiers in the Turkish Parliament that seek to remove the parliamentary immunity of 171 deputies, 526 of whom are Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs, Turkish media reports said on Monday.
HDP deputies often face terrorism charges, and the party is frequently accused of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); yet, the HDP denies any connections to the PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
There are seven dossiers about six ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies; 207 concerning 97 main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies; five on three Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies; and five dossiers involving five İYİ (Good) Party deputies.
There are also six such dossiers regarding two Turkish Communist Party (TİP) deputies and one on an independent deputy. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and HDP co-chairpersons Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli also are the subject of dossiers that seek to remove their parliamentary immunity.
4 October 2019:
Former HDP deputy released from prison after Turkey's Constitutional Court ruling
A jailed former member of parliament for the pro-Kurdish party, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, was released from prison on Friday after Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that his conviction violated his rights, secularist opposition daily Cumhuriyet reported. The Turkish Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that sentencing the former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy for statements he made during speeches in 2013 was a violation of his right to freedom of expression.
In an interview after his release, Önder said Turkey’s Constitutional Court's ruling on July 26 that the Turkish judiciary had violated academics’ right to freedom of expression by charging them with terror offences for signing a petition for peace was a breaking point. "Prisons became a natural station waiting for those who struggle for peace and democracy in this country," Önder said to T24.
30 September 2019:
As reported by Mezopotamya Agency (MA), HDP MP Kemal Bülbül fainted in the ensuing commotion between the police officers and the ones attending the watch. Bülbül has been taken to the hospital.
Plastic bullets and gas
Yesterday's watch in İstanbul was attended by HDP İstanbul Co-Chair Cengiz Çiçek, HDP MPs Murat Çepni, Saruhan Oluç, Kemal Bülbül, Ömer Öcalan and Necdet İpekyüz as well as main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Ali Şeker and labor and professional organizations.
While the square was blockaded by warders and police officers during the watch, people were prevented from entering or leaving the square. Afterwards, the police attacked the group with plastic bullets and gas bombs. While several people were wounded during the intervention, the group dispersed into side streets and held a march with ululations. Read the full article
Village guards attack pro-Kurdish party office in Turkey’s southeast
Two members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were injured in the country’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Wednesday when the party’s office was attacked by local village guards.
The Turkish government began recruiting locals in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast to police local villages after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) launched a separatist insurgency in 1984.
Five village guards were detained following the incident, independent news site Diken reported. The village guards said they had lost family members in an explosion earlier this month in the town of Kulp, Diken’s report said.
Seven people were killed in Kulp on Sept. 12, when a vehicle carrying workers was struck in an explosion. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the attack had been carried out by the PKK. Turkey’s ruling party has accused the HDP of being the political wing of the PKK.
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.
3 September 2019:
2 Kurdish mayors challenge Interior Ministry’s expulsion decision in court
Two out of three mayors in southeastern Turkey who were recently expelled from office by Turkey’s Interior Ministry on the grounds that they have links to terrorism have challenged the ministry’s decision at an administrative court demanding a stay of execution, according to Turkish media reports.
The mayors of the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van — all members of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) elected in March — were removed on Aug. 19 over alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Former Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı and former Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk filed cases at the administrative courts in Diyarbakır and Mardin, respectively, demanding a stay of execution and their reinstatement to their posts.
The former mayors said in petitions submitted to the courts that they were removed from office even though there was not even an ongoing investigation into them in relation to their positions.
3 September 2019:
Turkey sentences 41 ex-mayors from Kurdish party to nearly 260 years in prison
The Turkish Ministry of Interior has announced in a statement that 41 former mayors who were removed from office and replaced by government-appointed trustees between July 2016 and March 2019 have thus far received close to 260 years in prison on terrorism-related charges, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.
According to the statement, out of 94 mayors who were removed from office, 41 have been handed down sentences. Appeals are in progress for 33 of them. The terrorism-related cases of 52 others are still being heard by courts of first instance, while one was acquitted. Of the 94 mayors from Kurdish parties 20 are being tried while under arrest. Seven are on probation and eight are sought by the police.
The mayors, many of whom were from the ranks of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), had assumed office after the 2014 local elections and were ultimately removed by the Interior Ministry as part of a crackdown on the Kurdish political movement launched by the government in the aftermath of an attempted military coup in 2016.
Their removal was based on alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an armed insurgency against Turkey’s security forces since the 1980s.
Turkish police continues operations against dominantly Kurdish party
Turkish police have detained members of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in operations in seven provinces on Friday, Evrensel newspaper reported .
Ten senior members of the HDP were detained in Ankara, while the police had arrest warrants for 30 people, including lawyers, on charges of making terrorist propaganda, Evrensel said.
Some 18 members of the HDP detained in Istanbul on Thursday are expected to be formally charged by prosecutors on Friday, Evrensel said. Police also raided the houses of several others on Friday morning.
In the eastern province of Erzurum, three members of the HDP were detained over social media posts dating from 2014, according to Evrensel. ,
Large-scale operations against pro-Kurdish party started on Tuesday in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, where 10 of its members were detained.
Police this week also blocked several attempts by HDP politicians and members to organise demonstrations in solidarity with Leyla Güven, a Kurdish lawmaker, who has been on partial hunger strike for 100 days to protest the isolation of jailed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan
The governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Friday banned a rally that was supposed to end in front of Güven’s house, Artı Gerçek reported. Güven is in a critical condition and the Kurdish lawmaker was taken home on Wednesday after she was hospitalised, but refused treatment.