The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has sent a message of support to a “Justice Watch” launched by the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Tuesday.
CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan, who made a statement following a CHP central executive committee meeting, answered a question about the Justice Watch and said: “All kinds of peaceful, democratic protests raising the demand for justice are valuable methods that should be respected and promoted. It is useful to mention this within this framework.”
HDP deputies launched a series of protests on Tuesday that will continue until Nov. 4, the anniversary of the imprisonment of HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş along with eight other party deputies.
“The government and security forces’ just taking security precautions instead of preventing innocent and democratic protests will make them more respectable. Other steps beyond this would damage democracy, the state of law and the prestige of the government. The current government does not seem to care about protecting this prestige,” added Tezcan.
The HDP is expected to hold its group meetings in different provinces, where watches will be staged for a week, rather than in the Turkish Parliament to draw attention to the situation of the imprisoned deputies.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also launched a similar protest and started a “March of Justice” on June 15 from Ankara to İstanbul to protest the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. The march ended with mass rally in İstanbul on July 9. Some HDP deputies joined Kılıçdaroğlu’s “March of Justice” in a show of support for the protest.
Demirtaş, along with HDP Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other HDP politicians, were detained on Nov. 4, 2016 and ultimately arrested on charges of terrorism.
There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. 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.
The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.