HDP deputies refuse to answer prosecutors’ call
Rifat Başaran - ANKARA
REUTERS photoTwo Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers, Ahmet Yıldırım and Burcu Çelik Özcan, have refused a call from prosecutors to give their testimonies, in the first case since scores of MPs were stripped of their immunity by the Turkish parliament.
“Our friends have already said that they won’t go [to testify],” HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş told reporters on June 22.
On June 21 a prosecutor in Muş, a southeastern Anatolian town, invited HDP Muş deputies Yıldırım and Özkan through a phone conversation to give their testimony after summaries of proceedings were distributed to local courts by parliament as their immunities had been lifted.
“We are not concerned about appearing before the judge,” Yıldırım told daily Hürriyet on June 22. “But we won’t testify because we don’t want to be a part of an unconstitutional process.”
During the phone conversation with the prosecutor, Yıldırım said they had no problem with either judges or prosecutors and they were not running away from the justice but there was a decision taken by the HDP. “I am not thinking [about] my personal liberty but the future of the country. This is a move to increase tension. I hope they won’t try other means. I will not testify even [if] I will be taken by force,” he stressed.
For her part, Özkan repeated the same line as Yıldırım while speaking to daily Hürriyet, as she recalled the HDP’s decision not to abide by prosecutors’ calls to testify. “We briefly told [the prosecutor] that we won’t testify. We don’t know [if] there will be decision to take us by force to the court,” she said.
She also underlined that the notification should have been written and there were no way to call to testify over the phone.
HDP agrees on joint defense
In the meantime, the HDP party assembly and central decision-making body convened on June 22 to prepare a common strategy against legal actions to be taken against its lawmakers. All lawmakers will read the same defense statement if they are taken to court which draws attention on the unconstitutional nature of the removal of immunities of scores of lawmakers.
“We are elected representatives of the people. We do not represent ourselves but the people who have elected us. I stand in front of you as a lawmaker, a member of parliament that enjoys parliamentary immunity. It’s not possible for me to accept disrespect to the identity that I represent and to the will of the people,” read the statement.
According to the statement, lawmakers will repeat that they won’t answer any questions during the trial, underlining “you won’t be able to stop us [from] struggling to defend our views, either in parliament or in prison.”