Kurdish politician Demirtaş indicted with 108 others for Kobane protest

As part of the 2014 Kobane protests investigation, the Ankara chief public prosecutor's office prepared an indictment against 108 people, among them the former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, Artı Gerçek said on Wednesday.

At least 34 people were killed during the days-long Kurdish-led Kobane protests between Oct. 6 and 8, 2014 that spread to several provinces throughout Turkey. Critics of the legal investigation point out that in the months after the 2014 Kobane events, top officials of the HDP and ruling party met at Dolmabahçe Palace in early 2015 to announce protocols for Kurdish talks.

In the indictment, 108 people were to be charged for various crimes, including "violating the unity and the integrity of the state" and "killing people".  

Selahattin Demirtaş’s legal ordeal began on Nov. 24, 2016, when he was charged with alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed militant group that has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984.

The Kurdish politician remains behind bars despite several court orders for his release, both by Turkish courts and the European Court of Human Rights 

 (ECHR) and faces a sentence of up to 142 years in Jail.

The ECHR on Dec. 22 called on Turkey to immediately release Demirtaş.

The years-long detention of the former co-chair of the HDP was a cover for limiting pluralism and political debate in the country, the court said.

The ECHR on Dec. 23 said it did not see evidence in decisions for the Kurdish politician’s continued detention that linked his actions with the alleged terrorism-related offences.

Demirtaş’s pre-trial detention was “a matter of indisputable gravity for democracy,” which sent a dangerous message to Turks, the court said.