European deputies not allowed to visit Demirtaş in prison

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A delegation from the Party of European Socialists (PES) speaks to media after visiting the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) party Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned in Edirne, on November 21, 2016, in front of the Erdine Prison. Ten MPs from the HDP, including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yukseksag, were arrested this month on charges of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey declared a state of emergency after a failed coup bid in July, with tens of thousands arrested in a massive crackdown which critics call a breach of human rights. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

A delegation of European politicians was not allowed to pay a visit to the imprisoned co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, in Edirne on Monday.

The group, led by Sergei Staishev, president of the Party of European Socialists, the second-largest party in the European Parliament, comprised deputies from five countries.

The delegation was not allowed inside the Edirne F-type prison due to the lack of permission to enter. The European deputies were stopped by the gendarmerie on their way to the prison. HDP deputies Aysel Tuğluk, Hişyar Özsoy and Garo Paylan spoke to officials and were told that for any visit permission should be obtained from the Ministry of Justice and that no press release would be allowed in front of the prison, either.

Demirtaş, the leading Kurdish politician in Turkey who ran for the presidency in 2014, has been under arrest since Nov. 4 along with nine other HDP deputies.

Staishev told the media following the failure to visit Demirtaş that the arrests of the deputies are unacceptable.

A delegation from the Party of European Socialists (PES) speaks to media after visiting the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) party Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned in Edirne, on November 21, 2016, in front of the Erdine Prison. Ten MPs from the HDP, including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yukseksag, were arrested this month on charges of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey declared a state of emergency after a failed coup bid in July, with tens of thousands arrested in a massive crackdown which critics call a breach of human rights. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL
A delegation from the Party of European Socialists (PES) speaks to media after visiting the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned in Edirne, on November 21, 2016, in front of the Erdine Prison. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

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