PES delegation defending HDP co-chair is ejected from Ankara courthouse
A delegation of international observers from the Party of European Socialists has been turned away from a courtroom in Ankara, where the co-chair of PES member party Halkların Demokratik Partisi (People's Democratic Party, HDP) is due to stand trial on charges brought by the Turkish government.
Ms Yüksekdağ was imprisoned last year along with a large number of political opponents of Turkish president Erdoğan. The charge is one of 'terrorist propaganda', a charge only made possible by the state of emergency in place since last summer following a decree of President Erdoğan.
The delegation, led by PES deputy secretary general Giacomo Filibeck and accompanied by representatives from member parties in the UK and Sweden, Ibrahim Dogus and Evin Incir, is the latest in a series of visits to Turkey in support of member parties HDP and CHP, drawing international attention to the increasingly dangerous political situation in the country.
This morning, the delegation also accompanied the lawyers of all imprisoned MPs to the constitutional court in Ankara to present a petition for charges to be dismissed.
PES president Sergei Stanishev said:
“We denounce the politically-motivated trial against Ms Yüksekdağ, which is an attack on pluralism and democracy as well as women’s representation, and part of President Erdogan’s broader strategy to silence and undermine political opposition to his regime.
“The fact that we have not been allowed to attend today’s trial in the the courtroom and indeed prevented by the police from talking to the press outside of the tribunal itself, suggests that the pressure we are bringing to bear with our regular visits is having an effect.
“We will continue for as long as necessary to make representations about this unacceptable situation, to draw international attention to what is happening in the country, and to fight for the restoration of full democracy in Turkey.”
PES also strongly supports and will join the 'Justice March' from Ankara to Istanbul, led by the CHP in defence of another imprisoned MP, Enis Berberoğlu. The march has attracted significant international attention.
Today's delegation includes:
- Giacomo Filibeck, PES deputy secretary general
- Evin Incir, Socialdemokraterna (Swedish social democrats)
- Ibrahim Dogous, UK Labour party