HDP launches parliamentary boycott after arrest of lawmakers
DİYARBAKIRThe Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has decided to halt all parliamentary works following the arrest of nine of its lawmakers, including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, party spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen announced on Nov. 6.
“As a result of discussions we held with our parliamentary group and the central executive board, we have decided to halt our legislative efforts in light of the most extensive and the darkest attack in our history, and meet with our people once again,” Bilgen said after a party meeting in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
He added that the party was not fully withdrawing from parliament and its deputies would remain members, but they would not take part in general assembly sittings or parliamentary commission meetings, Reuters reported.
Bilgen said the HDP would pay visits to “every corner of the country” in the coming days, listening to complaints and suggestions from the public and holding discussions with NGOs, trade unions and faith groups.
When asked whether there would be a substitute replacement for the co-chair position, Bilgen said the party would consult its supporters and would then make an ultimate decision for its future.
“Turkey is at a turning point. We want to see what this decision means for Turkey and the world, rather than discussing such small details. We made a very clear announcement and we will do what this announcement requires. Making decisions with the public is on our agenda,” Bilgen said.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım downplayed the HDP’s decision, arguing that the HDP lawmakers were “students who skipped school.”
“They were barely in parliament anyway,” Yıldırım said in the province of Bayburt, also calling on the HDP to “back down from this wrong decision.”
“If the HDP lawmakers are representing the nation, then they have to go to parliament,” he said. “If they fail to perform their duties, then the party will be betraying the people’s will.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli has said the HDP’s decision would “not affect legislative works negatively.”
Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki also claimed that the HDP had been blocking parliament by “interfering and fighting.”
“This amounts to halting the parliament, which they have been doing. They do nothing other than that,” Özhaseki added.
The party’s decision came two days after nine HDP lawmakers, including Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ were arrested in a probe launched against 14 of the party’s deputies over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The lawmakers’ detentions came upon the orders of the chief public prosecutors’ offices in Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Hakkari, Van and Bingöl, which acted after the MPs refused to testify to officials over their summary of proceedings on terror charges.