Turkey releases two imprisoned HDP lawmakers pending trial

HDP lawmakers Nursel Aydogan (left) and Meral Danis Bestas (right) speak to the press following their release.

Turkey has released two opposition left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers a day after arresting another deputy, Burcu Celik, from the same party.

Adana deputy and vice-chair Meral Danis Bestas and Diyarbakir lawmaker Nursel Aydogan were both released from Ankara’s Silivri Prison on Friday.

The parliamentarians of the Kurdish-issue focused HDP, had been imprisoned pending trial in November last year on alleged charges of membership to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In a statement following her release Danis Bestas said they had been imprisoned for “struggling for democracy.”

“Turkey just experienced a referendum but we will see if they [the government] took lessons from this in the coming days. Turkey needs to normalise after this. There is now a need for peace and a democratic solution [to the Kurdish question]. It is clear that this issue cannot be resolved with violence and war, only democratic politics,” she added.

The HDP currently has 12 lawmakers jailed, including the party’s co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. The party, which has the third highest number of representatives in the Turkish parliament played an important role during the solution process of the Kurdish question between 2013 and 2015.

The politicians have denied charges of membership to the PKK.