Ms. Leyla Birlik, HDP’s MP for Şırnak, who had been arrested unlawfully together with our other MPs and Co-chairs on November 4, 2016, was released on January 4, 2017 from Silivri F Type Prison. This release came at the first hearing in Şırnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court. 

The release of Ms. Birlik could have been an indicator of a new process of “normalizing” politics in the country and as such it could have strengthened our hopes for peace and democracy. However, on the very same day, nine of our Istanbul executives, including the two co-chairs Mr Doğan Erbaş ve Ms Aysel Güzel, were arrested and sent to prison. The release of Ms. Leyla Birlik is unfortunately not the harbinger of “a new phase” in Turkey’s politics; it seems the repression and persecution of the HDP will continue in the future. 

As we have repeatedly stated, the arrests of our co-chairs, MPs, mayors, party executives and members are integral to the Erdoğan/AKP government’s political concept of getting rid of democratic opposition on the way to the referendum for a presidential system. The government is unabashedly using the police-court-prison triad at its disposal as a thoroughly politicized means to paralyze its political rivals in the process of redesigning the political system.

We will continue our decisive democratic struggle despite increasing state terror on the HDP and until our co-chairs, MPs, mayors, executives and all other members are free and a fair democratic system and the rule of law are established in the country. 

Hişyar Özsoy
Deputy Co-chair of HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs
Member of Parliament

6 January 2017