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Ensuring political democracy in Turkey: HDP co-chairs and opposition MPs in prison

Written declaration No. 643 | Doc. 14424 | 12 October 2017

Signatories:
Mr Ertuğrul KÜRKÇÜ, Turkey, UEL ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Jokin BILDARRATZ, Spain, ALDE ; Mr Pablo BUSTINDUY, Spain, UEL ; Ms Annette GROTH, Germany, UEL ; Mr Matjaž HANŽEK, Slovenia, UEL ; Ms Alice-Mary HIGGINS, Ireland, SOC ; Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Ms Eva-Lena JANSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Lotta JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Sweden, UEL ; Ms Filiz KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Serhii KIRAL, Ukraine, EC ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Luís LEITE RAMOS, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Marco NICOLINI, San Marino, UEL ; Mr Johan NISSINEN, Sweden, NR ; Mr Georgios PSYCHOGIOS, Greece, UEL ; Ms Ulla SANDBÆK, Denmark, UEL ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Søren SØNDERGAARD, Denmark, UEL ; Ms Tineke STRIK, Netherlands, SOC ; Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Damien THIÉRY, Belgium, ALDE ; Mr Manuel TORNARE, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Markus WIECHEL, Sweden, NR ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC

As explicitly stated in the reports of the Venice Commission (858/2016) and of the Monitoring Committee (Doc.14078) as discussed in a recent Resolution 2156 (2017) of the Parliamentary Assembly, we are seriously concerned about the ongoing detention of HDP co-chairs and opposition MPs.

Immunities of MPs were lifted in May 2016, for cases until that day, after a constitutional amendment in full contradiction with the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights. As a result, 55 of 59 Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies are stripped of their immunity and currently 10 deputies, including HDP co-chairs, Selahattin DEMIRTAS, Figen YUKSEKDAG and Enis BERBEROGLU of Republican People`s Party (CHP) are imprisoned.

All those deputies are indicted for political speeches, press releases or meetings. Five HDP deputies have already lost their mandate after court sentences and three others are pending appeal. If the present judicial situation remains as it is, all deputies pending court decision will be running the risk of losing their mandate.

We call for an immediate release and an investigation into the status of jailed MPs in Turkey. We request the Turkish government to implement the recommendations included in the Venice Commission opinion on the lifting of parliamentary immunities.

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