HDP deputies start sit-in at Turkey’s Constitutional Court as ‘March of Justice’ goes on

HDP deputies started a sit-in at the Constitutional Court building in Ankara on June 16. (Photo: t24)

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies have started a sit-in at the Constitutional Court building in Ankara protesting the arrest of its deputies, the t24 news website reported on Friday.

Currently, 11 HDP deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links, including Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş, who was arrested in November 2016 along with several other party deputies and the other co-chairperson, Figen Yüksekdağ.

“I would like to bring to mind a saying by Martin Luther King for those who have been silent in the face of the injustice against us. If there is injustice against one person somewhere, then there is no justice for anyone living there,” said HDP deputy Ahmet Yıldırım.

HDP Mardin deputy Mithat Sancar spoke in support of the “March of Justice” launched by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Thursday in protest of the arrest of a party deputy. Sancar said the CHP should display the motivation to stand against the arrest of deputies from all political parties and support democratic politics.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu kicked off the march from Güven Park in Turkey’s capital of Ankara to İstanbul in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. A high criminal court in İstanbul on Wednesday handed down a prison sentence of 25 years to Berberoğlu for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria, sending him to prison immediately after the ruling was announced.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has called on CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu not to seek justice in the street and to take a high-speed train to İstanbul rather than walking.

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu could go to Maltepe by taking a high-speed train. Turkey is a state of law. The court made a decision [about Berberoğlu]. There are legal ways to challenge it. They have not yet been exhausted. So we need to respect the court’s decision even if we don’t like it. Justice is the basis of the state. It cannot be sought in the street,” Yıldırım said during a speech in Diyarbakır on Friday.

Yıldırım also reminded Kılıçdaroğlu that his party had supported elimination of the immunity of the deputies who face investigations. “Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu knew that there would be trials [of deputies] as a result of the elimination of their immunity,” said Yıldırım.

On Friday, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has claimed that the statements made by CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu during his Istanbul march protesting against injustice in Turkey and the detention of a CHP lawmaker amount to a criminal offence. “Statements from the CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu – which exceed the limits of criticisms toward judicial members and include defamation and provocation – are alarming,” Bozdağ said.

“A court decision cannot be supervised by inviting people to streets,” Bozdağ said, accusing the main opposition head of “acting against the judicial order” and “committing a criminal offence.”  “It is openly a criminal offence to target, affront and threaten judiciary members, making statements in a way intended to influence them while the judicial process is ongoing,” he added.

The arrest of Berberoğlu, who would normally enjoy parliamentary immunity, was possible because the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution last year.

The immunity of all deputies who face investigations was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 pro-Kurdish HDP deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links.(SCF with turkishminute.com) June 16, 2017

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