Another wave of detentions and arrests to in the run-up to HDP’s Party Congress

The information note by our vice co-chair Hişyar Özsoy regarding the detentions and arrests to in the run-up to our party's 4th ordinary congress:

The HDP will have its ordinary party congress in late February 2020. Similar to the pattern we had observed in the run up to all party congresses and elections over the past four years, the government is intensifying its pressures on our party members and voters. The idea is to paralyze the HDP and prevent it from organizing a powerful congress.

Over the last two weeks, over 150 HDP administrators, members and sympathizers were taken into custody and many of them were later arrested and jailed. On 14 November, in Gaziantep 57 people, also including HDP’s co-chair of the province, were taken into custody due to party activities and the meetings held at the HDP’s local office. 24 out of 57 detainees were arrested after about one-week detention. Later, 10 more of the detainees were arrested upon the prosecutor’s appeal. On 27 November 2019, simultaneous police operations took place in Diyarbakır, Ağrı, Batman, Adiyaman, Siirt, Bursa, Izmir, Mardin, Muş, Kocaeli, and Ankara. In Kocaeli alone, 23 people, including HDP party assembly members, administrators and lawyers, were brutally detained. In Batman, at least 21 people, including HDP’s administrators and deputy candidates and delegates of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) were detained. In Ankara, 11 people, including Co-chair of the Human Rights Association’s (IHD) Ankara Branch, a central executive board member of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), a member of the HDP’s party assembly and executives of Health Workers Union (SES). In addition, at least 8 people in Diyarbakır, 7 in Mardin, 3 in Muş, 4 in Ağrı, 7 in Bursa, 7 in Siirt, and 6 people in İzmir were detained. A week earlier, HDP co-mayors of Suruç district of Urfa, and Savur, Mazidagi and Derik districts of Mardin were arrested -- all female co-mayors.

With the recent first package of “judicial reform” the AKP government claims to have taken a solid step toward restoring democracy and the rule of law. These detentions and arrests, however, point to the fact that the AKP’s discourse turns reality upside down: emergency rule have become permanent, all rights and freedoms remain suspended, and the witch-hunt against the HDP goes on with a heavy dose of criminalization and terrorization.

We will survive this onslaught as we did with the previous ones. Despite the intensifying crackdown, we promise to organize another spectacular party congress in late February.

Hişyar Özsoy
Vice Co-chair and MP for Diyarbakır
2 December 2019