Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called on the Government of Turkey to immediately halt proceedings to ban the Peoples’ Democratic Party (the HDP).
Senator Gavan also called on the Turkish Government to stop repression against the HDP, and to release all HDP elected representatives from prison and respect democratic institutional structures.
The Limerick-based Senator was taking part in an urgent debate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the functioning of democratic institutions of Turkey.
Describing the serious curtailment of democratic rights in Turkey, Senator Gavan detailed the numerous acts of repression against the HDP and also condemned the decision of the Prime Minister Erdogan to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul convention by decree.
Expressing deep concern over recent developments, Senator Gavan said:
“Last month a Turkish prosecutor has asked the country’s top court to ban the main pro-Kurdish opposition party the Peoples’ Democratic Party – or HDP.
“The government has stripped HDP parliamentarian Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of his status as a member of parliament.
“Turkey has arrested hundreds of HDP members. Only in the last month, over 718 people, including HDP provincial and district chairs, have been detained in so called ‘anti-terror operations’. The coalition AKP-MHP has continued this repression during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In recent years many HDP members have been investigated or jailed, including its former leader, Selahattin Demirtas.
“The European Court of Human Rights has declared that his detention goes against ‘the very core of the concept of a democratic society’. Turkey’s flagrant disregard for the Court and its judgements now requires action from the Council of Ministers.
“The European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur called the potential jailing of the co-chair of the HDP Party as ‘another serious step that further undermines the trust in Turkey’s parliamentary democracy’.
“Other opposition parties have voiced solidarity with the HDP, seeing this as an encroachment on democratic society and the rule of law. Turkey has departed from democratic discourse and practice in the last few years, and the disgraceful decision to withdraw from the Istanbul convention should be seen in this context.
“Turkish authorities must immediately halt the proceedings to ban the HDP, stop the repression against the HDP and release all HDP elected representatives from prison and respect democratic institutional structures.”