Arrests of MPs in Turkey ‘ridiculous’ says HDP lawmaker

Ayhan Bilgen and Meral Danis Bestas

The constant detainment and arrest of opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers has taken on a ‘ridiculous’ character, the party’s foreign affairs head told Kom News on Monday.

HDP Bingol deputy and foreign affairs head Hisyar Ozsoy said, via telephone, that the constant detainment and release of lawmakers in the past week and the formal arrest of Adana MP Meral Danis Bestas and Kars MP and party spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen yesterday, had become “ridiculous.”

“This kind of thing is only possible when there is no rule of law. It is the greatest evidence that the issue is political and not legal. It is ridiculous to say the least,” Ozsoy said.

In a statement on Monday the HDP accused the Turkish government of trying to hinder the left-wing party’s campaign against a constitutional referendum expected in April. 10 MPs have been detained, released or arrested, some twice, in the past week.

The party and its lawmakers are accused of having ties to the outlawed PKK. 10 HDP MPs, including the party’s co-leaders, have been imprisoned since November on terror charges.

HDP Diyarbakir deputy and vice-chair Idris Baluken was released yesterday after almost 3 months in prison, on the same day two of the party’s MPs were imprisoned on similar charges.

The HDP liaised between the government, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan during the 2013-2015 process for a solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.

Some commentators have signalled at an internal conflict, being played out using the HDP, within Turkey’s judicial and political system.