Turkey’s Erdoğan slams release of veteran Kurdish politician Türk from prison

Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday criticized the release of Ahmet Türk, a veteran Kurdish politician and former mayor of Mardin, from prison due to health problems.

Speaking at a panel discussion in Ankara titled “July 15 and Human Rights” on the eve of the anniversary of a controversial coup attempt last July, Erdoğan targeted Türk, who briefly participated in the “March for Justice” organized by the main opposition party to protest an ongoing purge in Turkey.

“How is he sick?” Erdoğan asked, saying that Türk was able to accompany main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during the march that ended last week.

Addressing Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ during his speech, Erdoğan said: “Mister Minister, did he [in reference to Türk] get a medical report from a hospital? Was it presented to you? How was he released from prison? He should have been under observation.”

Meanwhile, Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Van deputy Adem Geveri has been released after a brief detention in Ankara on Saturday. It was reported that Geveri was released after testifying to a Van court through the IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS) after he was detained in Ankara early Saturday on allegations of violating the Law on Demonstrations and Public Meetings (Law 2911).

Earlier in January and in March, Geveri was released after brief detentions as part of an investigation into him and several HDP members on accusations of membership in a terrorist organization and disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians and co-chairs have been arrested on terror charges. Currently, 11 HDP deputies including HDP Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş are in jail. The developments have attracted widespread criticism from regional and Western countries. (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 16, 2017

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