Opposition HDP lawmakers arrested in Turkey
DİYARBAKIROpposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers from the eastern province of Kars and southern province of Adana were arrested on Jan. 31, becoming the latest members of Turkey’s third-largest party to be incarcerated.
HDP Adana lawmaker Meral Danış Beştaş and Kars lawmaker and the party spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen were arrested as part of a terror probe.
Beştaş was arrested on Jan. 31 arrested on accusations of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”
Beştaş was previously detained on Jan. 28 as part of a terror probe but was released on condition of judicial control. After the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to the release, an arrest warrant was issued for her.
“We’ll see each other soon,” she said before being arrested.
Another arrest warrant was issued for another HDP lawmaker who was detained and released previously.
Bilgen was detained early on Jan. 29 in the Esenboğa Airport in Ankara and taken to Diyarbakır.
He was referred to court with the prosecutor demanding his arrest for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” but he was released on condition of judicial control that included an overseas travel ban.
Bilgen, however, was detained in Diyarbakır again on Jan. 30 before being formally arrested on Jan. 31.
Another HDP lawmaker was detained on Jan. 30 in the eastern province of Van, but was later released. HDP Van lawmaker Lezgin Botan was detained at the Ferit Melen Airport over a detention warrant issued by Van 2nd Court of Serious Crimes.
Botan was accused of “making terror propaganda,” “inciting crime” and being a member of “an armed terrorist organization,” with the prosecutor demanding 40 years in prison. He was later released on condition of judicial control after his testimony was taken.
Another HDP lawmaker from Van, Nadir Yıldırım, was detained on Jan. 30 while he was present at the hearing of HDP Diyarbakır lawmaker İdris Baluken at the Diyarbakır 8th Court of Serious Crimes. Yıldırım, who was the subject of a subpoena, was released after his testimony was taken.
Baluken, meanwhile, was released on Jan. 30 in the first hearing of his case. He was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, on several charges, including “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”
After being released from prison in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Baluken said his release was not news but the fact that one of the party’s co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, was still in jail was noteworthy.
“Today, my release isn’t news, but Demirtaş being kept in jail is news,” he told the press.
Meanwhile, another HDP lawmaker who was detained on Jan. 28 and later released has called for people to vote “no” in the upcoming charter change referendum that will impose an executive presidential system. HDP Istanbul lawmaker Hüda Kaya told daily Evrensel that authorities are attempting that to build “a one man-regime.”
With the latest arrests, the number of HDP lawmakers in jail rose to 12. The party’s co-chairs, Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, along with 10 lawmakers, are all jailed.
Elsewhere, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) assembly member Sera Kadıgil was detained over “insulting the president.”
A statement was released from the CHP after the detention, saying a “lynch” campaign had been launched against Kadıgil due to her opposition to the presidential system.