Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and the party’s spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen, who was detained at Ankara Esenboğa Airport and has been transferred to Diyarbakır on Sunday morning, was released on judicial probation Sunday afternoon.
In a message from his Twitter account on Sunday morning, Bilgen wrote: “I have just been detained at Esenboğa [Airport] where I came to travel to İstanbul. I have been told I would be taken to Diyarbakır.”
HDP deputies Adana Meral Danış Beştaş, Hüda Kaya and Altan Tan who were also detained by police were released on Saturday.
Defining the recent detentions of three deputies as “lawlessnes”, HDP said in a statement on Sunday that “The political responsibility of the decisions of these detentions and arrests is belong to the government. HDP has said that the recent arrests and detentions are part of referendum campaign that people will vote on the constitutional changes on executive presidency for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
HDP stated that “The process is not legal, but political. Deputies’ immunity has been abolished by breaching the Constitution and international democratic conventions… Through taking deputies hostage, arresting and detaining them you cannot break or change our political will. With posing threats and blackmails you cannot prevent us to campaign for “No” in referendum.”
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 Turkish courts earlier in late 2016 arrested 11 HDP deputies, including the party’s Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.