Osman Baydemir, spokesperson for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said on Wednesday his party won’t be silent on the arrest of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, unlike some CHP members who remained silent on HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s arrest last year, the Diken news website reported.
Speaking during an iftar event in Diyarbakır on Wednesday, Baydemir said: “No matter your political ideology, don’t wait for your turn to come. When you do and remain silent to violence, and think ‘this violence only covers Kurdish people,’ the time will come for you to be affected by that violence. If the supreme court is not controlled by the government, if they still have a little bit of faith in and awareness of the law, they should make their decision. All the deputies should be released. As his colleagues, we will not be silent like those who were silent about the arrest of Demirtaş. No matter from which party he is, if a deputy is imprisoned we will say ‘no’ to it.”
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu announced on Thursday that Demirtaş was a respectable politician and that he might visit him in prison. Demirtaş was arrested in November 2016 along with several other party deputies including the other co-chairperson, Figen Yüksekdağ, on terror charges.
According to Baydemir, the arrest of Berberoğlu displayed the continuation of a coup last year and violence.
A high criminal court in İstanbul on Wednesday handed down a prison sentence of 25 years to Berberoğlu over leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.
The arrest of Berberoğlu, who would normally enjoy parliamentary immunity, was possible because the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution last year.
The immunity of all deputies who face probes was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 HDP deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links.