HDP deputies face investigation over ‘propaganda of terror’

Senior deputies of Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) face investigation for charges including ‘propaganda of terror’ following their statements about outlawed PKK

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

HDP Co-chair Figen Yuksekdag

Updated Aug 2, 2015

Turkish courts have started investigations against co-chairs and senior deputies of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), regarding the statements which were allegedly ‘making propaganda of terror” and “illegal actions directly linked to outlawed PKK.”

The female co-chair of HDP, Figen Yuksekdag faces charges of “making propaganda in favour of PKK,” which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, as well as NATO and the EU.

Yuksekdag said on July 19 that the HDP relies on the armed units active in Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which Turkey considers as the Syrian affiliate of PKK, and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

"They say about our party - the HDP - relies on a terror organisation. I will answer those who don’t understand. We rely on those who are fighting against ISIS in Kobani and Rojava. We rely on the YPG and PYD and we see no harm in saying that,” Yuksekdag stated, speaking in Suruc district of Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province after a visit by her party to the northern Syrian town of Kobani.

Similarly, the investigation warrant against the other co-chair of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, was approved by the Diyarbakir court within the context of “crimes against public peace,” regarding the call of Demirtas during the events on Oct. 6-8, 2014, which are publicly known as “Kobani events.”

Demirtas called on his supporters to take to the streets to rally in support of the city of Kobani which was under the siege of ISIS at the time. The rally soon developed into attacks on the members of conservative Kurdish Free Cause Party (Huda-Par) by the youth arm of PKK, the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H), and left over 50 people dead.

Under Turkish law, members of parliament have immunity from prosecution. The prosecutor’s office will ask the Turkish parliament for jurisdiction warrant to try the deputies.

Demirtas can face up to 24 years in prison with the charge of “arming and provoking a part of public against another part of public,” if the parliament approves lifting his immunity.

Another investigation against Demirtas was earlier launched following the application of Deputy Chairman of the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Suleyman Soylu, accusing Demirtas of “exceeding bounds of freedom of expression.”

Before the June 7 general election, Demirtas alleged that the AK Party organised a 3,500-member group presided over by Soylu in order to rig the elections and prevent the HDP from passing Turkey’s electoral threshold.

Soylu asked Demirtas to prove his claim by saying “Those are cowards who cannot prove their claims.” Demirtas has not repeated his claim since.

Meanwhile, subpoenas for two other HDP deputies were sent to the Ministry of Justice on Thursday.

The Sanliurfa prosecutor’s office prepared a subpoena regarding HDP Sirnak deputy Faysal Sariyildiz, accusing him of “being a member of terrorist organisation” and “smuggling arms in the name of terrorist organisation.”

A footage of records from city surveillance cameras was published in the Turkish media last week, allegedly showing Sariyildiz in a meeting on the street of Sanliurfa’s Suruc district with a couple of people supposedly smuggling arms from Syria.

The court started to investigate the incident and took witness statements following the allegations, and asked the parliament to lift the immunity of Sariyildiz.                  

The other subpoena was prepared for HDP’s Hakkari deputy Abdullah Zeydan, accusing him of “praising the terrorist organisation and making propaganda of it” referring to a statement of Zeydan on July 26.

Speaking at a rally in the southeastern province of Hakkari protesting Turkey’s operations against PKK, Zeydan said “PKK has such a power that can drown you [Turkish government] with its spit.”

The Turkish parliament will debate the subpoenas after the opening of the new legislative year on Oct. 1.

TRTWorld and agencies