The European Union Delegation to Turkey and representatives from 11 diplomatic missions in Ankara on Tuesday visited Özturk Türkdoğan, head of the Human Rights Association (İHD), to show solidarity with human rights defenders in Turkey.
Police on Friday detained renowned human rights activist Türkdoğan along with dozens of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials as prosecutors increase the pressure on the party.
Türkdoğan was released under judicial supervision and an international travel ban the same day.
Diplomats visited the IHD in accordance with “the EU local strategy in Turkey to support and defend Human Rights Defenders,” the EU delegation tweeted.
In addition to the European diplomats, representatives from the American and Canadian embassies also attended the meeting with Türkdoğan, according to the İHD press release.
The European Union Delegation to Turkey and representatives of 11 other embassies visited the Human Rights Association Chairperson Lawyer Öztürk Türkdoğan today as per the EU local strategy in Turkey to support and defend Human Rights Defenders. 👉 https://t.co/8P2zUzRrzw pic.twitter.com/pV7Bd9N7XB
— AB Türkiye Delegasyonu 🇪🇺 EU Delegation Turkey (@EUDelegationTur) March 23, 2021
The arrest of Türkdoğan, which attracted international criticism, came two days after a top public prosecutor filed a lawsuit demanding the closure of the HDP, the third largest group in the Turkish parliament. The move followed months of intensified calls from Erdogan’s nationalist allies for the HDP to be shut down for alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The lawsuit followed the expulsion of opposition HDP lawmaker and prominent human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu from parliament.
Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his parliamentary membership after a Supreme Court of Appeals decision upholding a prison sentence of two years, six months given to the rights advocate lawmaker on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda was read out in the General Assembly.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday said it had issued 12 detention warrants for suspects including Türkdoğan over their alleged ties to the PKK.
Following his release Türkdoğan denied the allegations and said, “No human rights defender has anything to do with illegal organizations.”