Turkish government wants us all in jail, says pro-Kurdish MP

Jailing Kurdish politicians has become an election propaganda tool for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and if government officials could, they would jail every single member of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), HDP co-chair Sezai Temelli said.

Almost one in three members of Turkey’s main Kurdish political party have been detained since the ceasefire between Kurdish militants and the Turkish state collapsed in July 2015, among them 43 HDP provincial co-chairs and 101 HDP district co-chairs, as well as the party’s former co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who remain in jail facing terror charges carrying sentences of more than 100 years. 

"One of Turkey’s greatest problems today is democracy. We increase our struggle with each passing day as we strive towards democratisation, but the leading power is doing everything it can to do away with justice,” independent news site T24 quoted Temelli as saying during a visit to the southeastern province of Batman on Wednesday.

"Their aim is to antagonise the HDP, detain and arrest our friends,” Temelli said.

In 2016, the government ordered the seizure of two dozen municipalities in the mainly-Kurdish southeast of the country, replacing elected mayors for alleged links to Kurdish militants with administrators.

Turkey is set to hold nationwide elections to choose local representatives for the country’s cities and districts on March 31, 2019.