Turkey’s PACE member Kürkçü forcibly taken to court to testify

Pro-Kurdish HDP deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü

Ertuğrul Kürkçü, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) and a deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), was taken forcibly before a Turkish court to testify on Tuesday, according a report by Bianet.org on Friday.

The report said that HDP deputy Kürkçü stands trial on the grounds of a statement of opposition he had written as a member of Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission against a report on the rights violations in Şakran Prison. The indictment against him was prepared by İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office and he stands trial before the İzmir 13th Heavy Criminal Court.

Kürkçü said during his defense before the court he was brought forcibly to testify that “The fact alone that I as a member of the Parliament have been brought to court under the threat of being punished is a practice specific to fascism and autocracy.”

Kürkçü has assessed the trial to Bianet and said that “In this proceeding, there are three fatal factors. The first one is Turkish Parliament abolishing its own sovereignty by its own doing, and throwing itself into the arms of the police force, prosecutor’s offices and courts. This is actually the suicide of the the national assembly.

“The second serious situation is the fact that the members of the parliament who still have parliamentary immunity are being forced to go back to the past before the court. They are being told ‘Yes, you have parliamentary immunity, but before you did this and that, and now the parliament has lifted your parliamentary immunity in relation to this matter.

“The third factor is the worst of all… I had included the conclusions I drew as a statement of opposition in a report. And this report was approved in the Turkish Parliament’s General Assembly.

“This report is on the website of Turkish Parliament. In the meanwhile, the people against whom I filed a complaint to the Minister of Justice, whom I reported to the parliament and whose names and crimes I could include in this report as a statement of opposition, have filed a complaint against me, accusing me of ‘exposing an anti-terror authority’. Yet the Chief Prosecutor does not even take the trouble to check what is in this parliamentary report and makes a crime out of it.”

Reminding that he is a PACE member and he still have parliamentary immunity Kürkçü said that “The reason why I am here is not that I am a defendant or a suspect, but because I am a HDP member and our fight against racism, colonialism, fascism, autocracy, sectarianism, the rule of an individual or a family line, our fight for equality, freedom, justice, democracy and human rights as well as the sympathy the people have for this fights and the concerns it causes in the presidential palace that they are losing control.”

Kürkçü has also reminded his membership to the PACE and asked “How will you try a PACE member for whose trial a permission of PACE is needed?”

There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.

The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

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