Jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş slams Erdoğan over ‘terrorist’ claims

Jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş slams Erdoğan over ‘terrorist’ claims

Jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş slams Erdoğan over ‘terrorist’ claims Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has penned a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the latter accused him of being a “terrorist.” 

In the letter publicized by his lawyers on June 10, Demirtaş stated that with his comments, Erdoğan had “proven his influence” over the case the HDP is being tried in.

“First of all, I want to return your insult against the will of millions. But from another angle, I want to say ‘thank you’ for this confession of yours. You have saved us from the burden of having to prove that the verdict was given by you in person, and thawt my process has nothing to do with the judiciary,” he wrote.

The letter comes after Erdoğan called Demirtaş a “terrorist” in a speech at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg on July 8.

“We don’t have the authority to release terrorists from jail,” he said in a press conference, upon a reporter’s question regarding “Demirtaş and the Kurdish lawmakers.”

“Turkey is a state of law. The person you have mentioned is a terrorist. He is such a terrorist that he encouraged my Kurdish brothers to spill onto the streets and thus caused 53 of my Kurdish brothers to be killed by other Kurds. That is only one of his crimes,” Erdoğan added, referring to the October 2014 protests in parts of Turkey, sparked by the seizure of the Syrian town of Kobane by the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Demirtaş responded to the accusations by calling out on the president to hand over any evidence concerning the Kobane demonstrations to the judicial authorities.

“For eighth months your prosecutors and some of the judges at your command have not been able to find any evidence on my incitement of public unrest in Kobane from Oct. 6 to 8. If you possess such evidence, I want you to hand it over to your prosecutors that have been searching for the evidence in despair for months,” he wrote.

He also accused Erdoğan of having direct influence over the judicial authorities by addressing them as “mine.”

“I want to express my gratitude to you for declaring all the trials null and void, as well as the verdict that I have instigated the murder of 54 people, and the verdict that I am a terrorist,” Demirtaş said.

“Sooner or later, I will stand in the dock and the identity of the terrorist and the identity of the murderer will be revealed by the public,” he added.

Stating that 44 of the 54 people who had died in the Kobane demonstrations were affiliated with the HDP, Demirtaş argued that the public officials of that date “were the perpetrators of the July 15 coup attempt,” and Erdoğan “had not made an effort to investigate their responsibility.”

“The first degree political liability is primarily on you, for having governed the country for 15 years,” he said.

HDP files complaint about Erdoğan regarding ‘insult’

Meanwhile, the HDP has filed a legal complaint against President Erdoğan for “acting against articles 125 and 288 of the Turkish criminal code,” which stipulate punishments for “insulting a public official” and “attempting to influence fair trial.”

The complaint sent to the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on July 10 underlined Demirtaş’s status as a parliamentary deputy, despite the fact that he is currently in jail. 

“It is clear that this statement is a political intervention and amounts to political pressure on the judiciary,” the statement read.