Rebecca Harms, the president of Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament, reacted against the recent arrests of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and its two leaders, saying the recent arrests are another blow to democracy in Turkey in what is effectively a coup by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government against the lawful opposition.
In a statement on Friday Harms said: “I am deeply shocked by the unlawful detention of [HDP co-chair] Selahattin Demirtaş and his colleagues. I have known him for a long time and I have long been his chief supporter in the European Parliament. I met him earlier this week in Turkey to discuss the current situation.”
Underlining that Erdoğan is systematically dismantling all checks and balances to his power, Harms added that almost any form of opposition in Turkey is effectively criminalized and labelled as terrorism.
“We demand that the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission are clear and unequivocal in their criticism of President Erdoğan’s actions. We request an immediate meeting of EU foreign ministers to decide on the EU’s reaction and on how to shape future relations with Turkey. President Erdoğan’s current actions risk further destabilising the entire region,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gianni Pittella, the head of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, also released a statement criticizing Erdoğan and the Turkish government for the arrest of the HDP deputies.
“The S&D Group is devastated by the detention of the Kurdish Democratic Party HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ and a dozen elected members of Parliament. This comes after the closure of Kurdish media outlets and the arrest of the co-mayor of Diyarbakir.”
“We believe that political dialogue is the only way to normalise democracy in Turkey. The detention of members of parliament is another step backwards pushing Turkey even further from the EU. The HDP is our sister party, the democratic and peaceful branch representative of the Kurdish minority which represents 6 million voters. They must be set free,” Pittella said.