Travel ban imposed on HDP Co-chair Yüsekdağ

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Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yuksekdag. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER / AFP PHOTO / -

A Turkish court ruled for judicial supervision and a travel ban for Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), claiming that she represents a flight risk.

The decision was taken by the 5th Aggravated Felony Court in Şanlıurfa province as part of a case filed against Yüksekdağ for a speech she delivered during a meeting in 2015.

In response to the decision, the HDP stated that they would appeal it on Saturday.

“The decision is completely arbitrary and goes against legal principles. Figen Yüksekdağ has many times traveled abroad, participated in international meetings, made diplomatic and political contacts and has always returned to this country. Therefore, talking about “the existence of a flight risk” is arbitrary and unacceptable,” the HDP said in a statement.

HDP politicians and mayors have been the target of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government since the end of a settlement process between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the government in mid-2015.

Selahattin Demirtaş, the other co-chair of the HDP, said on Friday that his party does not represent the PKK in Turkish politics, although they are exerting efforts to bring the PKK to the negotiating table with ruling the AKP.

Speaking with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), Demirtaş criticized the recent arrest of Diyarbakır Co-mayors Gülten Kışanak and Fırat Anlı of the HDP, saying, “The AKP government is trying to seize the Diyarbakır Municipality by appointing trustees and arresting its mayors since they are not able to beat the HDP in local elections.”

Demirtaş also underlined that he is facing an investigation for calling on people to resist the AKP’s unlawful actions. “Kurds have already been alienated by the state ideology in Turkey, and the AKP’s policy of appointing trustees to municipalities run by pro-Kurdish parties will only consolidate that,” he said.

In 2012 the PKK leadership and the AKP government started a settlement process to solve Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish issue, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 40,000 people. While arms were almost silenced for three years, President Erdoğan declared that the settlement process had ended after two police officers were executed in Şanlıurfa province in June 2015.

Since then, the Turkish government has declared a state of emergency in southeastern provinces and districts and destroyed scores of neighborhoods in order to flush out PKK militants hiding there. As the fights between Turkish security forces and PKK militants escalated, hundreds of police and gendarmes and thousands of PKK terrorists died in the clashes.

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