MEP Alyn Smith of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has expressed his grave concerns over the recent harassment, arrest and detention of thousands of opposition voices in Turkey including dozens of opposition MPs, amongst which Kurdish HDP Co-Chair Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ who met him in Scotland last year.
Turkey’s President Erdogan has been tightening his grip on power in all state institutions in the past few years, with a resumption of hostilities towards Kurdish organisations last year and a sharp increase in political arrests against opposition voices since an attempted coup on July 15. Citing terrorism, 130 MPs from the progressive and critical Kurdish coalition in Parliament (HDP) have been prosecuted after their immunity was lifted last May, a move Alyn had warned against earlier on.
“Turkey is in a bad way and imprisoning democratically elected MPs is only going to make it worse. The EU must use what influence it has over Ankara.
"The progressive HDP is Turkey’s third largest party in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly and many of their MPs are now in prison. This is unacceptable and I call for their immediate release.
“I was shocked to hear the news of the detention of my colleague Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ MP in Turkey, on charges alleging support of terrorist activities. Figen is committed to a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question, she strongly believes in non-violence, political dialogue and to the rule of law.
“More than ever today Turkey’s democracy is under threat and I welcome the strong statements made by the EU urging Turkey to release all opposition MPs, stop closing down newspapers and resume peace talks on the Kurdish question. There is no other long-lasting solution for Turkey and the region.”
Alyn supported a joint call to Turkey’s MPs against judicial harassment of 130 democratically elected MPs, whose immunity was still lifted in May 2016, here:
Kurdish party chairwoman Ms. Yüksekdağ, who met Alyn, sent a message from prison, stating:
“Despite everything, they can’t consume our hope, or break our resistance. Whether in prison or not, the HDP and us, we are still Turkey’s only option for to freedom and democracy. And that’s why they are so afraid of us. Do not, not a single one of you, allow yourself to be demoralized, do not drop your guard, do not weaken your resistance. Do not forget that this hatred and aggression is rooted in fear. Love and courage will definitely win. With my warmest love and regards.”