Prominent Turkish figures call for release of jailed HDP deputies

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Co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas (L) and Figen Yuksekdag deliver a press conference in Ankara on November 1, 2015, after the first results in the country's general election. Latest results say the HDP won slightly over 10 percent of the vote, just enough to scrape into parliament. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER / AFP PHOTO / -

Over 440 intellectuals, politicians and writers have signed a statement calling on Turkish authorities to release imprisoned deputies of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and to end an ongoing state of emergency before a referendum on April 16.

According to the statement, released on Wednesday and titled “We don’t accept and we demand,” intellectuals and writers said holding a referendum during a state of emergency while keeping 90 mayors and 13 HDP deputies, including its co-chairs, in jail is unjust.

“We, people of this country who voted for the HDP and other parties and who want to live in peace, demand that the government end a lynching campaign against a party [HDP] that sent deputies to the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] after receiving over 6 million votes,” the statement said.

Underlining that the HDP is the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, the statement said the state of emergency that was declared following a failed coup last summer has to be immediately lifted in order to provide a “free, equal, fair and legitimate” referendum atmosphere on April 16 for a constitutional package that will switch Turkey into an executive presidency.

İsmail Beşikçi, Ahmet İnsel, Tarık Ziya Ekinci, Nesrin Nas, Hasan Cemal, Ali Nesin, Banu Güveren, Baskın Oran, Büşra Ersanlı, Ferhat Tunç, Gençay Gürsoy, Hasip Kaplan, Necmiye Alpay, Oya Baydar, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Ömer Madra, Ömer Kavili, Özcan Karakoç, Rüstem Batum, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Şeref Kavak, Ufuk Uras and Yasemin Çongar were the among the signatories of the statement.

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