HDP deputies end hunger strike
The four deputies were on hunger strike in protest of the Diyarbakır 5th and 6th High Criminal Courts’ refusal to release five jailed lawmakers elected from the BDP, which is the HDP’s sister party. CİHAN photoFour lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) who had gone on hunger strike in Parliament in protest at the continued imprisonment of five Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers ended their strike on its fourth day, Dec. 20.
HDP co-chairs Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Sebahat Tuncel, along with its two other deputies represented at Parliament, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Levent Tüzel, announced the end of their strike at a joint press conference.
“You promised Kurds to recognize their right to engage in democratic politics. They laid down their arms, they trusted you. You are keeping [in prison] the one [Abdullah Öcalan] who would actually be released, even if he were convicted today, thanks to the Anti-Terror Law and the dichotomous law,” Önder said at the press conference.
“This is a declaration of war again against Kurds,” he added.
The four were on hunger strike in protest of the Diyarbakır 5th and 6th High Criminal Courts’ refusal to release five jailed lawmakers elected from the BDP, which is the HDP’s sister party.
Hopes for the release of the BDP deputies had heightened after the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) deputy Mustafa Balbay was released from jail on Dec. 9, pending appeal, after the Constitutional Court ruled on Dec. 4 that his pre-trial detention had violated his rights. Balbay pledged his oath in Parliament on Dec. 10 after nearly five years in prison in the Ergenekon coup plot case.
The BDP lawmakers Gülser Yıldırım, Selma Irmak, İbrahim Ayhan, Faysal Sarıyıldız and Kemal Aktaş were elected while imprisoned in the June 2011 general elections. They were detained in 2009 and 2010 on charges of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and are still being held, pending verdicts.
Several academics had argued that the Constitutional Court ruling over Balbay’s appeal would set a precedent for other jailed MPs. However, the Diyarbakır courts ruled that this was not the case.