Pro-Kurdish HDP not to attend opening of Parliament

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Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Osman Baydemir said the HDP has decided not to attend the opening of Parliament on Oct. 1 but instead will gather in front of Edirne Prison, where HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş is jailed, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Thursday.

Baydemir, who was speaking during a press conference, said the HDP would not associate itself with a “bit part.”

“Our co-chairs and deputies have been imprisoned for 328 days; none of the trials in which Demirtaş will stand is being held,” said Baydemir.

Demirtaş, along with HDP Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other HDP politicians, was 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.

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.

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