Solidarity statement with HDP’s jailed co-chairs: Democracy in Turkey going on trial

Ahead of the trials of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) impriosned co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, Noam Chomsky, Clive Lewis, Peter Tatchell and others released a solidarity statement on Tuesday and called for their release from the prison.

The statement reads as follows:

“On December 6-7 democracy goes on trial in Turkey. Opposition politicians Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ will appear in court on trumped-up charges of terrorism, facing lengthy jail sentences. Their party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is the third largest in Turkey. In 2015 they won parliamentary seats for the first time, representing a breakthrough for progressive forces and democracy in the country.

“However, the state of emergency in place since the July 2016 coup attempt has been used to clamp down on all forms of opposition in Turkey. In November 2016 HDP deputies across the country were taken from their homes and detained. Currently, there are nine deputies from the HDP in Turkish prisons along with 85 mayors and an estimated 10,000 activists.

“Journalists, academics and public sector workers have been purged from their posts. One million people are displaced in Turkey’s largely Kurdish south-east with cities including Cizre and Nusaybin flattened.

“The prosecutions of Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ are nothing more than show trials. We send a message of solidarity to Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş and demand their immediate and unconditional release from prison.”

The statement was signed by Noam Chomsky, (Professor emeritus, MIT), British parliamentarians Clive Lewis, David Lammy, Kate Osamor, Karen Lee, Laura Smith, Julie Ward, Chris Williamson, Grahame Morris, Dan Carden, Ian Mearns, Paul Maskey, Francie Molloy, Michelle Gildernew, Mickey Brady, Barry McElduff, Elisha McCallion, Chris Hazzard, Len McCluskey (General secretary, Unite), Kerem Nişancıoğlu (SOAS, University of London and London Middle East Institute), Adam Elliott-Cooper (King’s College London), Ayça Çubukçu (LSE Centre for Human Rights), Rosa Gilbert (Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign), Steve Sweeney (Journalist), Oktay Şahbaz (Solidarity with the People of Turkey), Manuel Cortes (TSSA General Secretary), Doug Nicholls (GFTU General Secretary), Sean Hoyle (RMT President), Steve Hedley (RMT Assistant General Secretary), Eddie Dempsey (RMT National Executive Committee), Paul Glover (Chair of Unison International Committee), Martin Powell-Davies (London Regional Secretary, National Education Union), Louise Regan (Joint National President, National Education Union), Rob Williams (National Shop Stewards Network), Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition Convenor), John Rees (Stop the War Coalition National Officer), Peter Tatchell (Human Rights campaigner), Julie Hesmondhalgh (Actor), Barry White (Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom), Ben Chacko (Editor, Morning Star), Liz Davies.

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