Turkey: Where Will Repression End?

Copenhagen, 7 November 2016 – EuroMed rights expresses utmost concern after several members[1] from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested on 4 November, on charges alleging support of terrorist activities.

Amongst those arrested are two HDP co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, both democratically elected leaders and our trusted and valued interlocutors.

Other members of Turkey’s Parliament from the HDP were also arrested. EuroMed Rights deplores this, as in a democratic system, MPs represent people’s sovereignty, particularly so given that HDP is the third political party in Turkey’s Parliament.

These arrests come in a context of continued severe crackdown that the Turkish authorities are engaging against a very wide spectrum of Turkey’s society, including human rights activists, peaceful demonstrators, political opponents, journalists, academics and intellectuals…

To-date, over 130 journalists are being detained, dozens of media outlets closed, tens of thousands of public servants arrested and jailed, hundreds of academics dismissed, thousands of teachers and policemen suspended from duty[2] .

EuroMed rights is adamant that this wide-encompassing repression against legal and peaceful opponents does not serve a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish conflict but on the contrary constitutes an aggravating factor that fuels violence, as exemplified by the renewed attack on Nov 4 by Kurdistan Freedoms Falcon (TAK) [it claimed responsibility on 6 November] on Diyarbakir Anti-Terror and Riot Squad buildings, killing 9 people and leaving more than a hundred injured.

We call on the EU authorities and all its Member States, and human rights bodies within the EU to sustain a strong public stance by actual deeds and stop bargaining Turkey’s people’s lives and rights in the name of security and border controls. We also call on the EU to further condition its cooperation with Turkish authorities on the return to the rule of law and peace negotiations with the Kurds’ own chosen representatives.

We, furthermore, call on the UN HRC, the High Commissioner for Human rights and the Special Rapporteurs to strongly condemn the current Turkish policies and call on Turkish authorities to abide by their international obligations.

[1] Selahattin Demirtas, Figen Yüksekdag, İdris Balüken, Leyla Birlik, Selma Irmak, Nursel Aydogan, Gülser Yıldırım, and Ferhat Encü were detained and are in different prisons now. Ziya Pir, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, and İmam Taşçıer were released on judicial control conditions.
[2] For details on the full magnitude of the crackdown read EuroMed Rights factsheet ‘Turkey: A safe country?’ and our member IHD’s factsheet on violations since the failed coup and imposition of state of emergency.