A policeman’s off-the-record statement, which was accidentally typed into a police report and found its way into the prosecutor’s indictment in a trial in western Turkish city Bursa where 10 opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) members and two lawyers are accused of “membership to a terrorist organisation”, has revealed the state of the criminal and judicial process in the country, according to a report in the Turkish daily Evrensel.
29 people were detained in November 2016 following police raids on the Bursa offices of the left-wing HDP and its sister party the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP). While 19 people were released, local leading members of both parties were charged with “propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “membership to a terrorist organisation.” Five people were jailed pending trial whilst the others, including two lawyers who visited HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas in prison, were released on judicial control.
According to the indictment the HDP members and lawyers are accused of providing funds for the PKK by selling invitations to a breakfast party for 10 Turkish Liras (app. 3 USD).
The police report included in the indictment on page 317 has the sentence, “We’ll make something up Gazi, financing of terror or something,” an officer says, addressing Gazi Dundar, Head of Bursa Police’s Anti-Terror Department at the time of the report’s preparation.
“The statement by the police officer that accidentally found its way into the indictment shows that the evidence in this trial was indeed ‘made-up’ by the police officers in question,” said lawyer Umut Beyaz during the hearing.
Beyaz demanded that the charges be dropped against all 12 suspects and that the five detainees be released. However the court refused the lawyer’s demands and decided that the trial will go on.
The Kurdish-issue focused HDP has had at least 9 thousand members detained and 2,500 arrested and imprisoned since a return to clashes between security forces and Kurdish militants in July 2015, according to the party.