HDP Leaders Meet US, European Envoys Amid Tension with AKP

Co-chairs of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas (Source: Hurriyet Daily News)
Co-chairs of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas (Source: Hurriyet Daily News)

Co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas (Source: Hurriyet Daily News)

ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News)—The co-leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have met with foreign ambassadors in Ankara to inform them about recent tensions with the Turkish government, as clashes between militants and security officials have intensified in recent days across Turkey.

Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag met with Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Ali Reza Bikdeli on July 29, with US Envoy John Bass and UK Ambassador Richard Moore on July 30, and with the ambassadors of EU countries on July 31, the party said in a written statement.

The meetings come at a time when HDP leadership is under intense pressure from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has accused the group of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This pressure is being further leveled as summaries of proceedings on a number of HDP lawmakers, including Demirtas and Yuksekdag, have been introduced to parliament in a move that could presage prosecution for the pair.

In response to AKP’s increased pressure on Demirtas’s and Yuksekdag’s party, which won 80 seats in parliament last month effectively ending AKP’s 13-year majority rule, the HDP has filed a criminal complaint against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for using their influence over judicial acts against its party officials.

“Prosecutors have launched operations that resulted in the detention and arrest of party officials after President Erdogan’s and Prime Minister Davutoglu’s statements that they had given instructions. As a result of these operations and according to the data provided to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, 1,033 have been detained and 125 of them have been arrested without concrete evidence since July 24,” the petition issued by HDP read.

Recalling consecutive statements by Erdogan and Davutoglu against Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, the petition said these statements were directly influencing judicial independence and impartiality.

Influencing the judiciary was a crime under article 277 of the Turkish Penal Code, the statement read.

Demirtas’s and Yuksekdag’s meetings with envoys were focused on the ongoing political tension between the AKP and the HDP, as well as escalating tension between the army and the PKK in the southeastern Anatolian region.

Demirtas, speaking to the media on July 31, underlined the need for a resumption of dialogue between the PKK and the government to reach a settlement of the Kurdish issue. “The peace process should be restarted although it has been going very slowly in the last three years. Dialogue is not something humiliating. Not for the PKK either. Instead of calls for surrender, calls for dialogue are more humane,” Demirtas said.

“As the people of Turkey, we should say, ‘Remove your hands from the trigger, solve this issue at the table.’ Pushing democratic political channels to the end in such periods is part of the settlement. Taking about party closures and the removal of immunities would only block these democratic political channels,” he added.

Stating that he will meet with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu next week over these issues, Demirtas said, that “our doors are open for even those who fully ignore us. We’ll knock on any doors for peace. These are the views of our party, not my personal views. We should focus on peace rather than elections. Otherwise going to elections is easy.”


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