I’m being held hostage, jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş says

I’m being held hostage, jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş says

I’m being held hostage, jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş says One of the arrested co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, has sent a message from prison, saying he is “being held hostage, but it won’t last for very long.” 

“The mutual need and bonds between us and the people for freedom and peace are … so strong that they cannot be restricted to four walls,” he said in a letter that was published on Dec. 7.

Elected MPs from the party have been forced to “change their venue for the political struggle for a time.” “It must be said that this hostage situation will not last long,” he said.

Demirtaş’s message was issued on HDP Diyarbakır lawmaker Sibel Yiğitalp’s Twitter ac-count.

Demirtaş also said his and his party’s determination to fight, as well as their spirit and enthusiasm, was higher than ever before.

“The HDP is a unique source of hope for all the peoples of Turkey. All of my comrades’ sense of the moral responsibility that history has placed on our shoulders and their decisive stance in fulfilling their tasks is a source of morale for me,” he said. “The best response to the political mentality that is trying to illegally take us hostage is to make the HDP bigger.”

Demirtaş’s wife, Başak Demirtaş, visited her husband with their children, his sister and his father and mother on Dec. 7, Doğan News Agency reported.

Başak Demirtaş said the illegality surrounding his forced isolation in his ward was continuing but that he sent his love and greetings.

“The co-chair’s morale was high. He was healthy and he has no problems,” she said. “He said that our struggle would continue inside and outside regarding this situation. He sent his love and greetings to our people at home and abroad.”

Nine lawmakers from Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), as well its co-chairs, Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested on Nov. 4 in a probe that was launched against 14 of the party’s lawmakers over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The proceedings came after probes were launched against a number of party deputies for their alleged actions carried out during the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır between Dec. 26 and 27, 2015, the Oct. 6-8, 2014, Kobane events, as well as their alleged involvement in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), a Kurdish umbrella group that includes the PKK.

Meanwhile, an Ankara prosecutor has sought a total of 40 years in prison for HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who was detained on Nov. 4 and released on condition of judicial control on the same day, over terror charges. 

Önder is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization,” “making terror propaganda” and “overtly inciting hatred and enmity in the public.” 

In an 86-page indictment, prosecutors claimed that Önder gave a speech with instructions from the PKK at a general meeting of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in December 2015. 

Meanwhile, prosecutors said the content of Önder’s speech at a Nevruz event in Diyarbakır on March 21 also constituted a crime.  

The prosecutors also included in the indictment a photograph of Önder with key KCK figures at the PKK’s headquarters in Kandil in northern Iraq that was taken during the peace process in his capacity as a member of a delegation that was meeting jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on İmralı island. The photograph was deemed as proof of propaganda for a terrorist organization.

Moreover, Hüda Kaya, an Istanbul lawmaker of the HDP, was detained on Dec. 8 after a protest staged by a Turkish education union, Eğitim-Sen, at Istanbul University.

Kaya was subsequently released.