Garo Paylan, Other HDP Lawmakers, Threatened with Stripping of Legislative Immunity
Official Ankara began a new purge of pro-Kurdish activist in Turkey by issuing arrest warrants for 82 people, including major Kurdish political figures, for their suspected involvement in large-scale violent protests in 2014, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
Of the 82, 18 people, including former parliamentary deputies, mayors and ex-party leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), have been detained so far in an operation by counterterrorism units simultaneously covering seven provinces, the news agency said.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Prosecutor General announced Friday that his office has begun the process of stripping the parliamentary immunity of seven HDP lawmakers, among them Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of Turkey’s parliament who represents the pro-Kurdish party. They are being targeted for their membership in the HDP’s executive committee during the 2014 demonstrations, the Turkish Tele1 reported.
The nationwide operation, ordered by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor, was conducted after an investigation into the organization of widespread protests in Oct. 2014. Demonstrators had flooded the streets in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, accusing the Turkish military of standing by as the Islamic State besieged Kobani, a Kurdish town just across the Syrian border. The protests led to the deaths of 37 people.
Among those apprehended were former deputy and HDP mayor of the city of Kars Ayhan Bilgen, former HDP deputies Ayla Akat Ata, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Altan Tan, Nazmi Gür, Emine Beyza Üstün and Emine Ayna, and Alp Altınörs, a member of the party’s Central Executive Board, it said.
Former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ Şenoğlu were previously detained by police in the same investigation. Both are in jail for alleged terrorism offences.
Ankara claims that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) incited the demonstrations and is accusing the HDP of having link to the PKK and supporting the protests. The HDP, the third largest party in parliament, denies the charges.