Supreme Court of Appeals cancels HDP Co-chair Yüksekdağ’s party membership

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JANUARY 24: Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leaders Selahattin Demirtas (right) and Figen Yuksekdag (left 2) attend the 2nd General Assembly of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) at Ahmet Taner Kislali Sports Hall in Ankara, Turkey on January 24, 2016. AFP

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals on Thursday canceled the party membership of Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who was jailed on terror charges in November and stripped of her parliamentary status on Feb. 21.

According to a story on the dihaber website, the Supreme Court of Appeals informed the HDP on Thursday that Yüksekdağ’s membership had been canceled due to the charges she faces.

Yüksekdağ was arrested in a police operation on Nov. 4 along with eight HDP deputies including the other HDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş.

The parliamentary status of Yüksekdağ was removed after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a jail sentence handed down in 2013.

Yüksekdağ was sentenced to 10 months for participating in the funeral ceremony of Yasemin Çiftçi, a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) – a terrorist group affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Supreme Court of Appeals’ 16th Criminal Chamber approved the jail sentence for Yüksekdağ on Nov. 2, 2016.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges. There are currently 12 HDP deputies behind bars.

The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

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