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Turkey arrests pro-Kurdish MP after revoking his seat

  2021-03-21  | 
 Zhyan News Network
People's Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers gestures in the Turkish parliament after he was stripped of his parliamentary seat on March 17 and was arrested on March 17,2021 by the Turkish security forces. Photo summited by HDP on March 21.
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Turkish authorities apprehended a Kurdish opposition lawmaker on Sunday (March 21) who had not left the Turkish parliament for several days after he was stripped of his seat by the Turkish legislature foru days ago. 

"Our deputy [Omer] Faruk Gergerlioglu has been placed in custody," his party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) parliament's third largest, said on Twitter.

On March 17, the Turkish parliament
approved a court ruling to stripping immunity of Gergerlioglu, opening the way for his arrest over alleged propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Back in 2016, Gergerlioglu shared a news article in Twitter bringing a statement from Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), outlawed in Turkey, saying “peace would come if the government takes one step forward.” 

“This call should be evaluated properly. There is no end to this work,” the HDP MP said at the time, referring to the decades-long armed fighting between Turkey and the PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey.

Gergerlioglu, a human rights activist, was sentenced to two years and a half on February 21, 2018 by a court after being accused of propagating for the PKK. 

He was elected into the Turkish parliament on the HDP ticket almost half a year after the court decree.

The court verdict was upheld last month and was sent to the Turkish parliament where he was stripped of his seat on Wednesday, opening the way to be jailed. 

Before the expulsion, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Ankara to not follow through and expel the lawmaker of the parliament.

Few hours later, the Chief Prosecutor at Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals filed a case with the country’s Constitutional Court seeking the dissolution of the HDP, according to a state media.

The moves by the Turkish authorities brought condemnations from the US and European Union.

The HDP was founded in 2021 and is viewed as a substitute to now-banned Democratic Society Party (DTP) which was founded in 2005.  It denies any links to the PKK.

It has 55 seats in the 600-member parliament.

Turkish authorities have imprisoned or unseated several HDP lawmakers, mayors and officials in recent year, fueling concerns about the state of human rights situation in Turkey.

The pressures on HDP come at a delicate time for the country as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a plan to strengthen rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression, but his critics say it is just a public relations facade. 

PKK was founded in 1978 and had launched an armed struggle since 1984 for Kurds’ cultural rights in Turkey. It is based in the border areas in the Kurdistan Region.

The Turkish authorities and PKK signed a short-lived 2013-2015 truce. 

(Zhyan English)