‘HDP lawmakers’ arrests planned by AKP,’ says jailed co-chair Demirtaş

‘HDP lawmakers’ arrests planned by AKP,’ says jailed co-chair Demirtaş

‘HDP lawmakers’ arrests planned by AKP,’ says jailed co-chair Demirtaş A jailed co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said the arrests of the party’s lawmakers were planned by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “hour by hour around a table.”

“The process that brought us to jail was an organization planned hour by hour and day by day by high-level AKP members sitting around a table,” HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş told daily Cumhuriyet from the prison in which he is kept in the northwestern province of Edirne, adding that they decided to arrest the lawmakers, including the party’s other co-chair, Figen Yüksekdağ, after the peace process between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the government ended. 

Demirtaş also said the fact that the HDP passed the 10 percent election threshold in the June 7, 2015, and Nov. 1, 2015, elections affected the AKP lawmakers’ decision to arrest the deputies. 

“In the June 7, 2015, elections, the HDP’s equilibrium in politics turned in favor of the people and against the hegemonic clique, and that’s when the AKP pushed the button. It was seen that voting could change a lot in the June 7 elections and because it can’t be directly and openly forbidden, voting for the HDP was banned.

 However, it was seen in Nov. 1 elections that this didn’t work and with the HDP passing the threshold once again, they saw that the HDP didn’t allow the AKP to change the constitution without a referendum. The arrest process targeting us was started then,” he also said. 

Noting that the AKP made the arrests possible by declaring a state of emergency and issuing emergency decrees, Demirtaş said the AKP saw it as “essential” to push the crowds represented by the HDP out of politics. 

“According to the surveys, support for the presidency never past 42 percent. The plan was to raise nationalist and chauvinistic feelings through midnight operations against the HDP, to raise the support above 50 percent with the nationalism of the AKP and the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] and to present the charter amendments to parliament,” he said.