Turkey’s opposition HDP MPs holds protest for imprisoned lawmakers

HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir talks to the press outside Turkey's Constitutional Court in Ankara.

More than a dozen lawmakers from left-wing opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are protesting the continued imprisonment of the party’s co-leaders and 10 lawmakers in front of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in Ankara.

Speaking to the media in front of the court on Monday, HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir, said the arrests were the result of a political decision by the government.

“It was not the court but the political authority that arrested our MPs. All of the courts that took the decision have committed a constitutional crime.”

Baydemir went onto say that the country’s recent referendum had not been accepted by large sections of society because it was neither legally nor morally or politically legitimate.

“One of the most important reasons for this is that our co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and MPs are behind bars. Justice delayed is justice denied. Our lawmakers have been under arrest for 171 days in what is a constitutional crime. We are calling on the President of the Constitutional Court  and its members once again to fulfill the requirements of the law.”

The Kurdish-issue focused party has said it will hold weekly protests in front of the court until their lawmakers are released.

Commentators have accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of targeting the HDP to weaken the party’s opposition to the referendum and possible general elections, especially in the country’s Kurdish majority southeast.