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German MEP barred by security from observing trial in Turkey

Özlem Alev Demirel

A German member of the European Parliament was prevented on Friday by Turkish security forces from observing a trial in Ankara concerning the 2015 peace rally bombings that killed over 100 people, according to the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) website.

Özlem Alev Demirel was denied entry as “an MEP and a non-Turkish citizen.”

The October 2015 bombings were the deadliest attacks in Turkey’s modern history. Hundreds were also injured at the ‘Labor, Peace and Democracy’ rally, which was attended by citizens and major opposition parties including the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). They had rallied to demand an end to the violence between the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government.

Commenting on the incident in Ankara, GUE/NGL Co-president Martin Schirdewan (DIE LINKE, Germany) said: “It is scandalous that a member of the European Parliament has been banned from entering the courthouse in Turkey.

“Time and time again, Turkey breaks with diplomatic conventions by preventing any necessary transparency. The German government and President of European Parliament David Sassoli must demand answers from the Turkish authorities as soon as possible.

“Özlem had travelled to Turkey as an observer to the trial but also to show public support for the democratic forces, the bereaved and their families.

“But clearly, the Erdoğan regime doesn’t care about the public or judicial transparency. It has complete disregard for democracy,” said Schirdewan.

Demirel, who is also a vice chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to Turkey, said: “When asked why I was banned from entering the courthouse, the Turkish security forces said it was “inappropriate” for a non-Turkish citizen and a member of the European Parliament to be present inside.

“We also demanded answers from the Ministry of Justice, but I was told to leave the place as soon as possible. “It is scandalous that my role as an observer to the trial was deemed inappropriate. We await full answers as to exactly why I was disallowed from fulfilling my duty today,” she said.

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