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German Left Party says Turkey has blocked visit to HDP co-chairs since November

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Bernd Riexinger, co-chair of the German Left Party (Die Linke), said on Friday that attempts of German politicians to visit arrested pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ have been blocked by Turkish authorities since they were jailed on Nov. 4 of last year.

Speaking during a press conference at the HDP’s İstanbul provincial headquarters on Friday where he went to show his solidarity with the jailed HDP deputies, Riexinger said he and his party would not turn a blind eye to what is happening in Turkey.

Underlining that he has been visiting imprisoned politicians in Turkey since 2010, Riexinger said their applications to visit Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ were rejected by Turkish officials.

“They [the government] are trying to cripple the opposition before the referendum [in April]. This is a violation of the rule of law and [against] democracy. We consider it our duty to keep the release of politicians and journalists on the agenda,” he said.

Riexinger also added that the Council of Europe would send a group of 30 observers to the constitutional referendum scheduled for April 16.

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