Freed Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk calls for peace [updated]

Veteran Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk speaks to the media following his release from prison

Kurdish politician and recently discharged co-mayor of Mardin, Ahmet Turk, was released from jail today, his lawyer Zeynep Boztoprak announced on Twitter.

Boztoprak also said that Ahmet Turk must sign on at the local police station three times a week and that he is banned from leaving the country.

Upon his release the 6-time former deputy said despite gaining his freedom he wasn’t happy. “I’ve been released but I’m not overjoyed. Our MP friends, our leaders, our mayors and especially Firat Anli, who I was kept in the same wing as, are still behind bars.”

Turk also said he hoped common sense would prevail in the country. “I hope a common-approach and sense forms in Turkey. We need to move forward in this way and resolve issues together. I cannot think of any other solution apart from peace. I have health issues, our arrests have no legal foundation. I hope justice prevails and all our friends are released.”

Ahmet Turk had first been denied bail after the Turkish Institution of Forensic Medicine produced a report that stated it was fine for him to be kept in detention.

Ahmet Turk, 74, suffers from a heart condition and has a pacemaker fitted. Turk was discharged by the government on 17 November, 2015 as part of an ongoing crackdown on both the Peoples’ Democracy Party and the Democratic Regions Party. He was detained four days after on 21 November.

Ahmet Turk is widely recognised throughout the political scene in Turkey as a peace-seeking, moderate Kurdish politician respected across the political spectrum. It was hoped that calls from several political parties and human rights organisations for his release amid health concerns would result in him being released on bail.