Turkey: HDP on the arrests of party co-chairs and MPs and the eradication of rule of law

Hişyar Özsoy and Aysel Tuğluk,

This brief presents an overview of the illegality of the entire political and judicial process leading up to the arrest of our Co-Chairs Mr Selahattin Demirtaş and Mr Figen Yüksekdağ, along with eight other MPs of our party on 4 and 7 November 2016.

In response to domestic and international outcry over the arrests, the Erdoğan-AKP government officials have presented this a necessary judicial measure against our Members of the Parliament (MPs) who refused to follow the summons of prosecutors for interrogation in relation to criminal cases filed against them. In his statement to the press on November 4th following the detention of our twelve MPs the night before, Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ argued that our MPS had defied the rule of law by this refusal, and left judicial authorities with no other choice than bringing them before the court by force.

This judicial argument of the Government rests on the assumption of legality of the political process which has made possible the indictment and arrest of our MPs by the lifting of parliamentary immunities. However, the fact is that this entire process has been a concerted political effort by legislative, executive and judicial establishment to bring an end to the HDP’s parliamentary representation. This effort has entailed concerted infringements on the non-violability and non-liability of MPs guaranteed by Turkey’s own Constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights –as has been resolved by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission (Opinion No. 858 / 2016; 14-15 October 2016), and the Inter-Parliamentary Union Governing Council (27 October 2016).

Moreover, the police showdown that marked the detention of our twelve HDP MPs in concerted and simultaneous house raids launched in five different cities in the middle of the night, details of courtroom interrogations, pre-trial arrests of ten of them which was followed by their secretive transfer to prisons, and the militant police siege on our party headquarters since November 4 reveal the ingenuity of the Government’s seemingly technical juridical excuse. These practices also point to the expanding mockery of law as a characterizing feature of the political coup d’etat that has been ongoing against our party and deputies as it will be summarized below.

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