Politicians from the Party of European Socialists and Democrats (PES) arrived in Turkey on Thursday to attend the trial of Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, who has been imprisoned since early November.
Speaking before the trial was due to start at the Istanbul Kartal Court, PES leader Sergei Stanishev said they were on a mission to support Demirtas.
“We are in a mission of solidarity, to support Mr. Demirtas from a ridiculous accusation. This is a political trial. The court is simply following the will of president Erdogan. The PES will be following this process,” he said.
Commenting on the upcoming constitutional referendum the party leader added, “Concentrating too much power in the hands of one person is dangerous for democracy.”
The European Union also made a statement saying they were concerned about the imprisonment of 13 HDP deputies.
The statement, made by spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs chief Federica Mogherini, said, “As a country on the EU member’s list, Turkey has to include democratically elected party representatives into the democratic process without reservation.”
Selahattin Demirtas is expected to join the trial, in which he is accused of “terror-related offences,” via teleconference. The HDP co-leader is accused of membership to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) due to speeches and political decisions he has made as the co-leader of the HDP, his lawyers have said.
The Kurdish politician is being kept in solitary confinement in Edirne Maximum Security Prison.