HDP calls for international solidarity for three arrested journalists

The pro-Kurdish HDP party called today for international solidarity for the three journalists arrested on June 20, on “terror propaganda” charges. HDP claims that arrests are a severe violation of freedom of press.

Turkey copy

The arrest of three journalists on charges of “terror propaganda”, that ArmedPolitics reported on, sparked domestic and international condemnations. The latest reaction to the arrests happened today by the co-leaders of pro-Kurdish – Peoples´ Democratic Party (HDP).

On June 20, Erol Onderoglu, Reporters Without Borders’ Turkish representative; Sebnem Korur Fincanci, President of Turkey Human Right Foundation; and Ahmet Nesin, were arrested on charges of “propagandizing for terror”, for taking a part in a campaign in support for Ozgur Gundem – a pro-Kurdish publication.

Two co-leaders of HDP, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag called the arrests “a violation of freedom of press”, accusing the ruling AKP party of suppressing freedom of expression and opposition.

Demitras and Yuksekdag noted that the pressure on and arrests of – Ozgur Gundem´s staff – have multiplied since 2015, when ceasefire between Turkish authorities and PKK (Kurdistan Workers´ Party) was broken.

Ozgur Gundem is a newspaper considered as pro-Kurdish and suspected of close ties with PKK by the AKP led government. Turkish authorities repeatedly accused the paper of disseminating terrorist propaganda. 44 prominent journalists, activists and academics participated in a campaign to support Ozgur Gundem so far. The campaign involved participants to act as “editor-in-chief” for a day. Out of 44 prominent participants – 37 were investigated by the authorities.

HDP – People’s Democratic Party

Peoples'_Democratic_Party_(Turkey)_logo

HDP logo (via wikipedia)

HDP is a pro-Kurdish, left-wing party that was founded in 2012. HDP entered Turkish parliament after surprising results of general election held on June 7, 2015. General election of June 7, 2015 resulted in a “hung parliament” denying AKP parliamentary majority and with HDP wining over 13 % of the vote and 80 MPs and passing well above the 10 % election census.

Peoples’ Democratic Party served as the primary target of AKP party during the campaign for 2015 early election held on November 1st. Justice and Development party (AKP) repeatedly accused HDP of close ties with PKK – considered as terrorist organization by Turkey, US and EU.

HDP denied those accusation and has served as an intermediary between Turkish government and PKK in the past.

Peoples’ Democratic Party got 10, 75 % of the vote and 59 MPs on November 1, 2015 early election, while AKP won a clear parliamentary majority.

Dejan Scepanovic

based in Bosnia and Herzegovina. BA in political science. Columnist.