PES rejects crackdown on opposition in Turkey

Press statement by the Party of European Socialists (PES):

The Party of European Socialists rejects the attacks on its associate member party Halklarin Demokratik Partisi – People’s Democratic Party (HDP) - by Turkish authorities.

HDP faces constant suppression. Recently, it has faced police brutality against former co-mayor Dilek Hatipoğlu, the removal of parliamentary immunity for nine MPs, and a two-year prison sentence and ban on political activity for MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, based on a social media post.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“European socialists and democrats demand immediate protection from police brutality and legal assistance for Dilek Hatipoğlu and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. The allegations against them are purely political. Parliamentary immunity must be preserved for the nine representatives from HDP sitting in the Grand National Assembly. They represent the Turkish people and are under threat of being unseated by force, including HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan. We demand that this undemocratic activity stops immediately.

“We stand with our colleagues from HDP because they are friends and allies, and because it is the right thing to do. They and our other associate party in Turkey – CHP - are selfless people defending Turkish democracy at great personal cost. We are, and we will always be, on their side.”

Stanishev added:

“The Turkish state bullies and suppresses all political opposition. Erdoğan is restricting freedom of speech, academic freedom and the political freedom of voters and their representatives. He must accept the democratic choices of citizens, respect human rights, and cease to use the judiciary and the police as his private guard. No ruler deserves absolute power. No-one should be able to escape accountability. The Turkish people will ultimately have their say.”

The government crackdown against HDP has escalated since late 2016, including the detention of its former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. The PES has been calling for his immediate release ever since.

Delegations from the PES visited Turkey to support the former HDP leader during his court trial in 2017, at an opposition meeting in Ankara in 2018, when visiting the Kurdish regions in Turkey in 2019, and again during a trial in 2020. In 2021 the PES supported the resolution adopted by the European Parliament demanding the liberation of Demirtaş.

24 February 2021