Arrests are part of the ongoing campaign by Erdoğan's government to stifle the opposition

The Network for Social Democracy in Asia (SocDem Asia) condemns the recent wave of arrests conducted by the Turkish government against members and leaders of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Last 25 September, the government’s chief prosecutor issued arrest warrants for eighty-two (82) individuals affiliated with the HDP. This is part of the ongoing campaign by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stifle opposition in the country especially directed at his most persistent opponent, the HDP. As of now, numerous leaders and activists of the HDP have been arrested and jailed including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ who are still under detention.

It is also worrying that such arrests are conducted under the existing conditions of a global pandemic and health crisis. While Turkey has been able to decrease the rate of infections from a previous high of about 4,000 infections per day to around 1,000 per day the pandemic continues to ravage the country. Instead of focusing the government’s resources in addressing the health and economic issues that have been created by this pandemic, President Erdogan has chosen to focus his attention on settling political scores and securing the ruling party’s domination of Turkey’s political life.

We urge the immediate cessation of this campaign of political attacks against the political opposition and civil society and we call for the immediate release of all political prisoners. We stand in solidarity with the HDP and the democratic opposition in their fight against the Erdogan government’s unceasing attacks against the people’s democratic freedoms and their legitimate organizations.

2 October 2020