Top Turkish court rejects release request by jailed pro-Kurdish HDP deputy

Former MP Gülser Yıldırım

Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) on Thursday rejected a request for release made by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Mardin deputy Gülser Yıldırım, who has been in jail since November of last year on terrorism charges.

The top court said Yıldırım’s arrest was within the law and that there was no violation of freedom of expression or her political rights. Citing claims by Yıldırım that her arrest was illegal and against the Turkish Constitution, the top court said legal remedies had not been completely exhausted.

Slamming the Constitutional Court’s decision at a press briefing in Parliament, HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen, along with several other HDP deputies, said the AYM’s decision shows that it has taken sides with the government and relinquished its status in the international judicial system.

“Constitutional courts exist to solve disputes on freedoms. [The decision of the AYM on Yıldırım’s request] shows that it is part of the political tutelage.”

Yıldırım, along with several other HDP deputies and Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016 after being detained in Diyarbakır for allegedly disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkish government has detained about 11,000 HDP members in the last two years and put 4,500 of them in prison, HDP’s 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.

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. (SCF with

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