Turkey’s parliament speaker should keep word and visit prison: HDP
Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman should visit prison in order to “keep his promise” to visit all party leaders in Turkey, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen said on Nov. 14 in his party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.
“Perhaps Kahraman has forgotten, but our co-chairs are currently in jail. They were arrested while on duty, as leaders of parliament’s third largest group,” Bilgen said, referring to HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ.
He added that the HDP has not yet received an invitation for a meeting with Kahraman, who was recently nominated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for a second term as parliament speaker.
Bilgen also stated that the HDP would take part in the parliamentary speaker elections, “even though it is only symbolic participation,” announcing Hakkari deputy Selma Irmak as the party’s candidate. Irmak is also currently in jail.
Irmak was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Nov. 3 on charges of “making terror propaganda.”
The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) nominee for the parliament speaker position is CHP İzmir deputy Zekeriya Temizel, who served as finance minister in the mid-1990s.
The Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) candidate is Istanbul deputy Celal Adan.
Nine HDP lawmakers, including party co-chair Demirtaş, are currently in jail, and a total of 27 MPs have been detained and released since Nov. 4, 2016 over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).