Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies have started a sit-in at the Constitutional Court building in Ankara protesting the arrest of its deputies, the t24 news website reported on Friday.
Currently, 11 HDP deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links, including Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş, who was arrested in November 2016 along with several other party deputies and the other co-chairperson, Figen Yüksekdağ.
“I would like to bring to mind a saying by Martin Luther King for those who have been silent in the face of the injustice against us. If there is injustice against one person somewhere, then there is no justice for anyone living there,” said HDP deputy Ahmet Yıldırım.
HDP Mardin deputy Mithat Sancar spoke in support of the “March of Justice” launched by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Thursday in protest of the arrest of a party deputy. Sancar said the CHP should display the motivation to stand against the arrest of deputies from all political parties and support democratic politics.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu kicked off the march from Güven Park in Turkey’s capital of Ankara to İstanbul in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. A high criminal court in İstanbul on Wednesday handed down a prison sentence of 25 years to Berberoğlu for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria, sending him to prison immediately after the ruling was announced.
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 investigations was lifted in May 2016.