Prominent Turkish figures call for release of jailed HDP deputies

Over 440 intellectuals, politicians and writers, including jailed journalist Hasan Cemal, former Taraf daily Editor-in-Chief Yasemin Çongar, Kurdish writer Tarık Ziya Ekinci and Kurdish politicians, signed a statement calling on Turkish authorities to release imprisoned deputies of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and to end an ongoing state of emergency before a referendum on April 16.

According to the statement, released on Wednesday and titled “We don’t accept and we demand,” intellectuals and writers said holding a referendum during a state of emergency while keeping 90 mayors and 13 HDP deputies, including its co-chairs, in jail is unjust.

“We, people of this country who voted for the HDP and other parties and who want to live in peace, demand that the government end a lynching campaign against a party [HDP] that sent deputies to the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] after receiving over 6 million votes,” the statement said.

Underlining that the HDP is the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, the statement said the state of emergency that was declared following a failed coup last summer has to be immediately lifted in order to provide a “free, equal, fair and legitimate” referendum atmosphere on April 16 for a constitutional package that will switch Turkey into an executive presidency. ( March 29, 2017

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