Turkish government has detained about 11,000 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members in the last two years and put 4,500 of them in prison, HDP Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen said on Tuesday.
Addressing the parliamentary group of HDP, Bilgen said of those put in prison or pre-trial imprisonment 750 were heads of township branches. Among them are the party’s co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and 10 other deputies who the police arrested in simultaneous midnight house raids a year ago.
“We are facing all kinds of repression. Days ago deputy Speaker Pervin Buldan was in İstanbul’s Esenler, attending a panel. After that, some people engaged in a provocation that our staff prevented,” Bilgen said and added “But the provocation continued on social media, and they started a lynching campaign against our branch there which culminated in that midnight shots on our building.”
“Whatever way you may try, this party will overcome these difficult days. Our people have been through much harder processes. It will neither be afraid nor bow or give up the cause,” Bilgen said.
HDP’s sister Democratic Regions’ Party (DBP) have also come under the crackdown, with over 2,500 of its members, including 80 mayors remaining in prisons across Turkey.