Turkish prosecutors demand lifetime jail sentences for leaders of pro-Kurdish HDP

By bne IntelliNews January 17, 2017

Turkish prosecutors have demanded up to a 143-year jail sentence for Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish HDP, party and 83 years for the other co-leader, Figen Yuksekdag, according to media reports on January 17. The minimum sentences the Turkish prosecutors demanded are 43 years prison for Demirtas and 30 years for Yuksekdag.

The HDP is the third largest political grouping in parliament with 59 seats. Since taking over as president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian, but has taken things to a new level by arresting parliamentary opposition leaders, after lifting their parliamentary immunity and accusing them of “terrorism”.

Turkish prosecutors accused Demirtas of “managing a terrorist organization”, “making terrorist propaganda”, “inciting people to violence and hatred”, and “praising crime and the criminal”, while Yuksekdag was accused of “opposing the meeting and rally law”, “inciting people to violence and hatred”, and “provoking people to commit crimes”, Hurriyet Daily News reported on January 17.

Demirtas and Yuksekdag were arrested on November 4 and they have been jailed pending trial since then. HDP’s many MPs, local municipality heads and thousands of members are also in jail. Another prosecutor demanded a 103-year jail sentence for Nursel Aydogan, one of the jailed HDP deputies, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

The HDP, the main Kurdish legal political movement, attracted a record 13.1% of votes at the general elections held in June 2015, but has been under pressure from both sides after a two-year ceasefire between the Kurdish PKK guerillas and the government ended in July 2015. 

The government sees the HPD as the political arm of the PKK, which has been fighting against the state since the mid-1980s. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US and the EU. The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people. Violence in the country’s southeast have flared and clashes between security forces and the PKK have intensified after the collapse of the ceasefire. The government refuses to return to negotiations, vowing to eliminate all the militants of the PKK.

In May 2016, the parliament voted to strip all lawmakers of their immunity. Following the measure, several HDP deputies were summoned to testify in terror-related investigations but they refused to appear before the authorities.

HDP claims that lifting its MPs’ parliamentary immunity was against the constitution and it applied to the constitutional court to reverse the law. However, the constitutional court has not announced any response to the HDP’s application, although it is obliged to announce its ruling within 20 days, Sirri Sureyya Onder, another HDP MP who is accused in the same case with Demirtas, recently asserted during a speech in parliament.

The main opposition CHP also voted in favour of lifting the parliamentary immunities, with the aim of inhibiting Erdogan from accusing CHP of supporting “terrorism”. CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in a televised interview that they voted in favour of lifting parliamentary immunities since they were confident that the constitutional court would abolish the law.

Related Articles

Europeans everywhere "won’t safely walk the streets", Erdogan says in Ankara speech

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his war of words with EU governments on March 22, remarking ... more

Turkish Airlines' share price falls further after UK follows US with electronics flight ban

The share price of Turkish Airlines (THY) was down 2.88% by the end of trading on March 21 after the UK joined the US in banning electronic devices larger than smartphones in hand luggage on flights ... more

Turkish Airlines' share price slides after US bans electronic devices on flights

Flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) saw its share price fall 1.69% on March 21 after confirming it is among the nine airlines affected by a US cabin baggage ban on large electronic devices on flights ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss