Turkey’s Demirtaş holding talks in Switzerland

Turkey’s Demirtaş holding talks in Switzerland

Turkey’s Demirtaş holding talks in Switzerland Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş is paying a two-day visit to Switzerland to hold talks with leading parliamentarians, as well as senior officials from international institutions.

Demirtaş will hold various talks in Switzerland during his visit on June 2-3, the party’s press office said. Demirtaş will meet Christa Markwalder, the speaker of the Swiss House of Representatives; Raphaël Comte, the speaker of the Senate; and Christian Levrat, head of the Socialist Party and the president of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Demirtaş will also hold talks with Martin Chungong, the secretary-general of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and Gianni Magazzeni, chief of the Americas, Europe and Central Asia branch of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Following months of fierce debate, a bill that will mainly target HDP lawmakers with the aim of stripping them of their immunity from prosecution was passed last month by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the vocal support of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the founding leader of the party.

Demirtaş, one of two leaders of the third-largest party in parliament, has long said the move is likely to create more violence and stifle democratic politics as the country has been embroiled in a reignited conflict between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since July 2015.

Demirtaş has also been arguing that Erdoğan’s drive for an executive presidency was preventing the revival of a peace process between the state and the PKK.