Europe & UK

September 11, 2017

Opposition spokesperson be released: Turkish Court

Ayhan Bilgen

A Turkish court released a Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentarian on September 7, according to a HDP statement. Parliamentarian Ayhan Bilgen is the former speaker for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party, and has been arrested in the southern city of Diyarbakir over accusations that he was a member of an armed terrorist group, jailed over allegations of terrorism. Bilgen had served as spokesman and head of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) parliamentary group.

This release follows a "Conscience and Justice Watch" at the Constitutional Court to dissent and demand action for those they trusted were unjustly and unlawfully jailed. The current Turkish government has withdrawn and more than 1,50,000 people are arrested or suspended from the military, civil service and private sector after a failed coup last year.

Turkey’s parliament has also exposed four HDP lawmakers, including the party’s co-chairwoman Figen Yuksekdag, of their parliamentary status, decreasing the presence of the country’s third-largest party in the 550-seat assembly.

The HDP had 59 lawmakers elected to parliament in the November 2015 general election. The party’s co-leader Selahattin Demirtas has also been in jail since November 2016.

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